Lauren Wells has qualified for the semis of the Olympic 400-metre hurdles. Photo: Cameron SpencerCanberra athlete Lauren Wells has advanced to the semi finals of the Olympic 400-metre hurdles, but not before the most nerve-wracking five minute wait of her career.

Having missed out on a top-three spot and automatic qualification by just 0.02 seconds in her heat, Wells was forced to wait for the final heat to know whether she would progress.

Wells (56.26 seconds) qualified as one of the six fastest non-automatic qualifiers and 20th overall.

She will contest the semi-finals on Wednesday morning (AEST).

Wells spoke to Channel 7 after her qualification where she said her event is about patience.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re running your race or if you’re waiting for other times … it’s a game of patience and that’s something my coach Matt Beckenham has told me the last 14 years.

“Just to be patient and to wait for things to come to you.”

The 28-year-old also commented on her desire to improve on her 56.26 seconds she ran in her heat.

“I’ve always felt there’s something bigger and better for me and hopefully that will be tomorrow night.”

“I think being tolled in lane one – I don’t want to harp on about it – but it does take a little bit out of your race.

“If I draw a wide lane that’d be great and I can just run my strides and execute my race and if I can do that then I can be happy with whatever performance I put out.”

Unfortunately, her wish hasn’t come true with the Canberran drawing lane one in the third semi-final scheduled to start at 10:24am Wednesday (AEST).

Wells, a learning support assistant at Giralang Primary School, was quick to show her appreciation for the support from the school and the wider Canberra community after her race.

“Hi everyone at Giralang,” she said.

“They had a special assembly this morning for me and I saw a couple of classes that had Lauren masks.

“They’ve been very Olympic and I’m so thankful for all the support back home especially in Canberra.

“I can’t wait to do you proud tomorrow night.”

Wells is Australia’s sole representative in the 400-metre hurdles and is captain of the sprint and hurdles group.

She was awarded a leadership role in the Australian Olympic team alongside Jared Tallent, Alana Boyd, Kim Mickle and Chris Erickson.

The 28-year-old is aiming to improve on her 23rd-place finish four years ago at the London Games, where she carried a knee injury into competition.

Jamaica’s Ristananna Tracey qualified fastest for the semi-finals with a time of 54.88 seconds.

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