Usain Bolt returned from his 100 metres false start debacle on Friday, taking no chances whatsoever in the blocks this time around as he cruised into the 200m semi-finals at the world championships.
The three—times 2008 Olympic and 2009 world champion Bolt had the slowest reaction time of 0.314 seconds at the gun, ran a decent curve and then eased up after 150m to win his heat in 20.30 seconds.
While not as sharp and in world record shape as in previous years, Bolt had eyed another treble in Daegu in his self—proclaimed bid to become a true legend by repeating the 2009 titles, plus the Olympic ones next year in London.
However, that dream went up in smoke when Bolt was kicked out of the 100m final under the strict no—false—start rule implemented last year.
He returned Friday as his usual self for the 200m where he is an even bigger favourite than he was in the 100m as season leader on 19.86 seconds. Bolt worked the crowd ahead of the start and then ran as dominant as if nothing had happened, a thumbs-up sign his only comment afterwards.
The semis were set for later Friday and the final is on Saturday.
American medal contender Walter Dix also made the semis, after a 10-minute delay because of problems with the starting gun, along with young Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade.
“I definitely go for gold here,” said Dix. “I am not sure about how Usain is ready. The heat was quite slow. I think that this time it will not be as easy for him as in the past years,” said Dix.
So did Amr Ibrahim Mostafa Seoud of Egypt in 20.44 seconds, but it was unclear whether he will be back after collapsing in the mixed zone after his race.
Medical personnel were on hand quickly, but the shaken Seoud required no stretcher as he was led away after some 10 minutes for further treatment, pointing at his stomach and head.
Australian 100m hurdles gold medal contender Sally Pearson was in a hurry to get into the semis, winning her heat by more than half a second in 12.53 seconds. Defending champion Brigitte Foster Hylton of Jamaica and American Olympic champ Dawn Harper advanced as well.
Also scheduled in the morning session were the women’s 4x400m heats and hammer throw qualifying, as well as men’s triple jump qualifying.
The evening finals are the women’s 200m, 5,000m and javelin, and the men’s 4x400m, shot put and long jump.