– Blake, Forte also qualify, with all eyes on today’s final
(Jamaica Observer)- Despite stumbling out of the blocks Usain Bolt easily qualified for today’s semi-finals of the 100m with a relaxed-looking 10.07secs (0.3 mps) in the heats of the blue riband event here at the Olympic Stadium yesterday to keep alive his golden farewell.
Fellow Jamaicans Yohan Blake and Julian Forte also advanced to the 100m semi-finals, while debutant Senoy-Jay Givans was eliminated at the first hurdle at this the 16th World Athletics Championships here in London, England.
Fedrick Dacres reached the discus final fairly comfortably, while his teammate Travis Smikle had to wait anxiously but sneaked in as the last qualifier. Damar Forbes did likewise in the long jump, but there was no such luck for Ramone Bailey.
But the night, in fact the entire Championships, belongs to the incomparable Bolt and the packed venue erupted with every glimpse of him, whether on huge screens or on the track.
Bolt, who is hunting his fourth World title, had the second slowest reaction time of 1.66 seconds running from lane seven but he quickly hustled up on the field, glanced across and eased home in the 10.07secs. The eighth fastest time into the semi-finals set for 1:05 pm Jamaican time. The final will be run later at 3:45 pm.
“The race overall was a poor start so I had to push myself a little bit in the middle to get back in it. But Overall I was happy that I had to push myself and blow the cobwebs out now. I am feeling Ok, but it wasn’t a great race,” said Bolt.
He continued: “That was very bad. I stumbled coming out of the blocks. I’m not very fond of these blocks. I think these are the worst ones I’ve ever experienced. I have to get this start together because I can’t keep doing this.
“It’s shaky. When I did my warm up it pushed back. It is just not what I am used to. Not as sturdy or firm,” said a concerned Bolt.
“But the fact that I got back in the race pretty quickly shows that I am in decent form. The more I run the better I feel so tomorrow (today) we will see how the semi-finals go and I can really say what’s what,” he added.
Blake also safely navigated himself to the semi-finals after finishing second in heat two behind Jamaican born Abdul Hakin Sani Brown of Japan, who won in a personal best of 10.05secs. Blake clocked 10.13secs, while Turkey’s Emre Zafer Barnes, former Winston Barnes of Jamaica College and Jamaica, was fourth in 10.22secs and also qualified.
“I just wanted to stay strong and take it round by round. I just want to make people know that ‘Blake’ is up,” said Blake.
“It is good to be here and I just want to get a similar result to the 2011 (World championships). I’m fit and I’m healthy,” he added.
Meanwhile, Forte was the quickest of the Jamaicans and in fact, the quickest overall capturing his heat in 9.99secs (0.0) to equal his personal best.
“I equalled my PB today, so this time shows me that I am in good shape, that I have the strength. I have always been confident about myself, but I just kept it inside,” said Forte.
“I am just trying to execute my race each round. I just tried to control my race,” he added.
Givans was seventh in heat one clocking 10.30secs. The race was won American rising star Christian Coleman, who won in 10.01secs (-0.1). Former Jamaican runner Jak Ali Harvey of Turkey was second in 10.13.
The biggest challenger to Bolt, Justin Gatlin, won his heat in 10.05secs ahead of another former Jamaican Andrew Fisher, now running for Bahrain, who clocked in at 10.19secs.
In the semi-final Bolt has been drawn in heat three with Coleman, Barnes, Fisher, Great Britian’s Chijindu Ujah and Jimmy Vicaut of France. Blake is paired with his first round conqueror Sani Brown, while Forte faces Gatlin and South African Akani Simbine.