Aug. 9, 2012
LONDON - In a year that saw the most Kansas State Wildcats ever compete at the Olympic Games, former track and field star Darius Draudvila was the final K-Stater in action at the London Olympics and came away in 25th for his native Lithuania in the decathlon.
Draudvila started the second day of the decathlon in 18th place after posting 4,090 points through the first five events. The current Wichita State volunteer assistant coach was in the fastest heat of the 110 meter hurdles top start day two off and he clocked in at 14.87 seconds, earning 865 points.
The first day of the competition was solid for Draudvila as he posted consistent marks throughout the first five events and scored 800 or more points in four of them. The hurdles would be the only event Draudvila could crack the 800-point mark on the final day Thursday.
Draudvila was strong in the discus, finishing seventh in the event, but then struggled over the remaining three events. K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto said the Lithuanian champion was a little off, perhaps due to a quick turnaround following the Lithuanian National Championships this summer.
"Darius qualified for the Olympics on the last possible date and wasn't as sharp and rested as he probably would have liked," Rovelto said. "His goal has always been to make their Olympic team and now he has done that."
He finished the two-day event with a total of 7,557 points and in 25th place in his first Olympics.
The Olympics are not over, but it has been a successful games for K-State track and field. High jumper Erik Kynard won silver on Tuesday, highlighting the event for K-State fans everywhere. Hurdler Jeffrey Julmis finished 38th in the 110 meter hurdles for Haiti giving the Wildcats two current student-athletes competing at the games.
Another former hurdler Balazs Baji showed true sportsmanship following his race. Baji competed K-State for one year in 2010 before transferring, and this year he qualified for the Olympics for his native Hungary. After his opening round race Tuesday, Baji waited at the finish line for the former world record holder and Olympic champion Liu Xiang of China. Liu fell over the first hurdle in the lane next to Baji with an apparent Achilles injury and later hopped to the finish line outside the lanes, stopping to kiss the final hurdle. When he reached the finish line, Baji was waiting to raise the former champion's hand in the air. Baji finished in a tie for 34th with his time of 13.76 seconds.
Rovelto said the London Olympics have been special for him and he hopes all the Wildcats competing made K-State fans proud to support the Purple and White.
"It was great to have so many kids representing their country on this stage," Rovelto said. "They have all worked hard and dedicated themselves to achieving their goal of making the respective countries' teams. I am proud of all of them and appreciative of the contributions they have made to the wonderful history of K-State track and field."
25th: Darius Draudvila, 7557 pts
Day 1 (4090 pts)
100m: 10.95 (872 pts)
LJ: 7.12m/23-04.50 (842 pts)
SP: 15.17m/49-09.25 (800 pts)
HJ: 1.96m/ (767 pts)
400m: 50.13 (809 pts)
110m H: 14.87 (865 pts)
DT: 46.43m/152-04 (796 pts)
PV: 4.20m/13-09.25 (673 pts)
JV: 50.16m/164-06 (591 pts)
1500m: 5:03.14 (542 pts)