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Nelson flies into Olympics 200m semis

AAP logoAAP 15/08/2016 By Emma Kemp

It's hardly been the ideal build-up to Ella Nelson's debut Olympics.

Two hamstring tears less than four months out from the Rio Games put a dampener on a breakthrough summer for the rising Australian track star.

But on Monday those very same hamstrings took the 22-year-old national champion into the women's 200m semi-finals - the first Australian to do so since Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Cathy Freeman made the final in Sydney 2000.

Nelson, also the first Australian to contest the discipline since Lauren Hewitt in Athens 2004, ran 22.66 seconds to finish second in her heat and 11th overall.

Trinidad and Tobago's Michelle-Lee Ahye qualified fastest in 22.50s in a field devoid of defending Olympic champion Allyson Felix, who failed to qualify by 100th of a second at the US trials.

"I'm so happy just to have completed that race," Nelson said.

"I haven't raced since April so coming in here I was super nervous.

"I kind of forgot out there, I ran a bit scared.

"But I'm definitely going to improve on that in the semi."

Nelson smashed her personal best earlier this year with a 22.53 in Canberra.

It was the last of four PBs during a red-hot summer fuelled by a training stint with the elite Altis program in the United States.

But no sooner had she won the national championships in April, the Sydney-sider did her hamstring while competing in America.

"It completely interrupted my year, as great as it was," Nelson said.

"It's been a really big year of ups and downs.

"But I'd rather take running in Rio in August than running the European circuit throughout June and July any day of the week."

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