Defending champion Usain Bolt and his training partner Yohan Blake strolled into the semi-finals of the 100 metres in London on Saturday.
Bolt stumbled out of the blocks in heat four but was soon into his running and looking around at his competitors, the Jamaican doing just enough to win in 10.09 seconds.
But that time looked positively pedestrian after first Justin Gatlin and then fellow American Ryan Bailey broke 10 seconds,a feat never before achieved in the heats of the Olympics.
Gatlin, Bailey shine
Gatlin clocked 9.97secs in heat two, only for Bailey to then equal his personal best of 9.88 in the next heat to raise hopes that Bolt’s world record of 9.58 could be under threat in Sunday’s semi-finals and final. Bolt said: “I am feeling good, my legs are feeling good so I am happy. I am training well so I feel like I’m back. My start was good, I am only focused on the semi-finals tomorrow.”
Former world champion Tyson Gay eased through in 10.08. British sprinters Adam Gemili, James Dasaolu and Dwain Chambers all advanced to the semi-finals, with world junior champion Gemili, in 10.11, second behind former world record holder Asafa Powell in his heat.
Chambers, a beneficiary of the British Olympic Association’s Games ban for past doping offenders being overturned, had not run quicker than 10.25 in 2012 until today when he clocked 10.02.
Elsewhere, defending Olympic champions suffered differing fortunes as Russian pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva qualified with ease for the final.