STOCKHOLM, Sweden:You don’t see too many Jamaicans competing in the 800m, but Simoya Campbell is one of that number.The Jamaican came home sixth at the BAHAUS Athletics Diamond League meeting in a time of 2:01:57.However, she quite literally did not have the best of starts. Just moments before the gun, she raised her hand, having felt that she and the other competitors were being held too long.The gun did eventually go, but the athletes were recalled.Campbell told The Gleaner: “I didn’t have a problem. It was just that when I got ready to start they took too long.”During the race, she was always off the pace and came in well behind winner Renelle Lamote of France, who recorded 1:59:91.Now, like many athletes, Campbell is looking ahead to the World Championships in Beijing.”My preparation was good and I’m in good shape. I just want to run myself into top shape for the World Championships.”I didn’t get a win, but I’m still happy. At least I got to run before the World Championships and I’m happy with that.”I feel very confident before going to Beijing and feel comfortable in myself. I have been putting in all the work needed”I feel happy. I’m very pleased to represent Jamaica.”The country is known for sprinting and not middle distance, but there are many more middle-distance runners to come.”When asked why the 800m was her choice of event, she added: “It was what God wanted me to do. It is not easy.”
The first leg will be played at the Camp Nou next week before a return at the Santiago Bernabeu. The provisional dates are February 6 and 27. Real Betis will go up against Valencia in the other semi-final.Barcelona are 10 points clear of Madrid in La Liga and will be favourites to progress but their opponents have found form in recent weeks, winning six of their last seven matches.Barcelona director Guillermo Amor said: “Real Madrid are playing well and they will be the Madrid team we always expect — a group of winners that competes for everything, that can give us a scare if we are not ready to work.”“There’s nothing like it,” Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno said. “We are talking about two teams with a lot of resources, with extraordinary players and we always expect very tight games.“We trust our players but obviously this is one of the greatest games in the world today.”Barca are chasing a record fifth Copa del Rey success in a row while Madrid are into the last four for the first time since they won the competition in 2014.– Two Clasicos in a week –Two Clasico games in a week will crank up the pressure on both teams at the end of the month but Real also have a testing schedule around the first leg, sandwiched between a city derby against Atletico Madrid in La Liga and a Champions League last-16 first leg away to Ajax.Santiago Solari’s side will hope victories in the Copa del Rey can have a knock-on effect in the league, however, where Barca have been unflappable over the past two months, winning eight matches on the spin.The opener at the Camp Nou will present Madrid with a chance to avenge their 5-1 hammering there in October too, a result that led to Julen Lopetegui being sacked as coach.They reached the Copa del Rey semis after completing a 7-3 aggregate victory over Girona on Thursday while Barcelona pulled off a brilliant comeback to beat Sevilla, overturning a 2-0 first-leg deficit by winning 6-1 at the Camp Nou.Valencia continued their own resurgence by scoring two late goals to overcome Getafe on Tuesday and Real Betis needed extra time to knock out Espanyol.Each sitting on 29 points in La Liga, Valencia and Betis played out a goalless draw when they met at Mestalla in September and both will fancy their chances of making the final.Betis also have added motivation in this year’s competition after their own stadium, the Benito Villamarin, was confirmed as the venue for the final on May 25.“For everyone, and above all the fans, it would be an extraordinary way to finish the season,” Betis coach Quique Setien said earlier this week.“To play the final in your home stadium, on your home pitch, and with your fans in your own stands — we know half the city would be there to support.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Holders Barcelona thrashed Sevilla 6-1 on Wednesday to reach the final © AFP/File / LLUIS GENEMADRID, Spain, Feb 1 – Real Madrid will face defending champions Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.The draw made on Friday means there will be back-to-back Clasicos, with the second leg due to take place in the last week of February, before Madrid host Barca in La Liga on March 2.