OLYMPICS – Bolt leads Caribbean men into 100m semis
Usain Bolt won his 100 meters heat after what he called a “sluggish” start on Saturday, but looked pained after the race as he prepared to fend off the challenge of American Justin Gatlin for the Olympic crown.
Bolt, who turns 30 on the final day of the Games, is aiming high in what he has said will be his final Olympics, bidding to continue his streak of gold in the men’s 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, the unprecedented “triple-triple”.
He qualified in a leisurely 10.07 seconds, picking up the pace after lumbering from the blocks and looking stiff in his warm-up.
“It wasn’t the best start, I feel kind of sluggish. I think it’s the fact that it’s the morning. I’m not usually running this early in the morning,” Bolt told reporters after the race which began at 12:42 p.m. local time in warm sunshine.
“Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll feel much better,” he added of Sunday’s action when the semis and final take place late in the evening.
He batted back questions about his leg, saying he was “good”.
Gatlin, 34, produced the fastest time of the morning, 10.01 as the 2004 champion seeks to become the oldest man to win a medal in the 100m and the first to do so after serving two doping bans.
“I am just staying focused, I went out there and executed my race in the first round and cruised to finish line,” Gatlin said.
Bolt’s compatriot Yohan Blake posted 10.11 seconds to win his heat, while Antiguan Daniel Bailey and veteran sprinter Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis, also qualified for tomorrow’s semifinals in 10.20 and 10.18 seconds respectively.
Barbados’ Ramon Gittens and Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson did not advance to the next round.
Gittens ran his heat in 10.25, while Thompson posted 10.29 seconds.