August 19, 2012

Cornellians Compete in London Olympic Games

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Halim ’08 Misses Qualifying Mark for Triple Jump Finals

Muhammad Halim ’08 represented the U.S. Virgin Islands in the men’s triple jump event at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Halim was unable to qualify for the final event — ranking 9th in the trials after he missed the qualification mark by .23 meters.

Halim first made a name for himself on the world athletics stage when he won a silver medal in the long jump event at the Central American and Caribbean Games held in Puerto Rico in 2010.

Halim set a personal best and a new USVI indoor record in the triple jump by reaching 16.70 meters at the Cornell Relays. His performance was also the best triple-jump performance ever recorded at Cornell University’s Barton Hall, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.

“I’ve been trying to get that record ever since I went to school there,” Halim told VIDN in 2010. “Doing it with my old track coach and some other alumni there made it extra special. That’s why I went there. It was sort of a reunion for all the Cornell track and field guys, but I wanted that record.”

Uceny’s ’07 Gold Medal Run Marred by Fall

Morgan Uceny ’07 did not finish the race during the women’s 1500 meters final in London due to a fall. However, she can be expected to make a complete come-back.

Uceny — who was pitched as the frontrunner for gold at the 2012 Olympics 1500 meters event — had a similar fall at the World Championship in Daegu last summer. Kenyan athlete Hellen Obiri tripped and collided with Uceny, knocking her to the track at the event back then.

“Obviously I was super-disappointed to have had this golden opportunity taken away, which is what it felt like. The first 24 hours after that were pretty rough,” Uceny said in 2011, according to NBC.

At Daegu, Uceny got up and finished the race after her fall. However, in London after being clipped by Ethiopia’s Abeba Aregawi, Uceny was overcome with emotion and could not finish the race.

“Once I hit the ground, I was just devastated,” Uceny said, according to Associated Press.

As a junior at Cornell, Uceny proved herself to be among the nation’s best in the 800 meters — earning a 4th-place finish and her second straight All-America honor at the NCAA indoor championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

Apart from her success at Cornell, Uceny also won a Diamond League season title at Brussels in 2011 and the 1500 final at the 2012 US track and field Olympic Trials.

She placed second in the Round 1 and third in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics women’s 1500 meters race.

Jurkowski ’03 Races in Single Sculls Finals

Ken Jurkowski ’03 began the 2012 London Olympics with a third place finish in the men’s single sculls heats. Finishing fifth and sixth place in the quarterfinal and semi-final events, respectively, Jurkowski qualified for the finals, but ended the race in last place.

Jurkowski finished sixth in the single sculls at the 2011 Pan American Games and finished 11th in the single sculls at the 2011 World Rowing Championships. At the 2010 World Rowing Championships he finished 12th in the single sculls and finished 11th in the same event at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Jurkowski has secured a place on the national team for the past five years. He was one of 10 to 15 collegiate athletes that has finished in under six minutes on the erg machine for 2000 meters.

“He was an engineering geek coming in having done no sports in high school whatsoever, but from a physiological standpoint, he’s not normal,” head coach Dan Allen told The Sun in 2003. “Most people don’t have his the perseverance and focus.”

Original Author: Manu Rathore