Saturday, 15 August 2009

Event Report - Men's 100m - Quarter-Final

Training partners Usain Bolt and Daniel Bailey share a smile as they both qualify easily for the 100m semi-finals  (Getty Images)

Training partners Usain Bolt and Daniel Bailey share a smile as they both qualify easily for the 100m semi-finals (Getty Images)

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    • Defending champion Tyson Gay runs sub 10 seconds in the men's 100m quarter-final
    • The 200m World Junior Champion Christophe Lemaître of France and Daniel Grueso of Columbia are both disqualified from the men's 100m quarter-finals
    • (L-R) Britain's Tyrone Edgar and USA's Michael Rodgers in the men's 100m quarter final
    Both literally and figuratively, the quarter-finals of the men’s 100m managed to separate the dash’s boys from the main event’s men. And the big men at the moment are Usain Bolt and Daniel Bailey.

    It may not have been the fastest, but Heat five, featuring the World record holder and his Antiguan training partner, was certainly the most entertaining, and arguably the toughest.

    Not that Bolt and Bailey had a particularly difficult time breezing through to tomorrow evening’s semi-finals. With the best starts in the field, the pair, running side-by-side, ran virtually stride-for-stride through the finish, sharing glances and trading smiles back and forth over the final 30 metres. Nor did it matter that the comparably diminutive Bailey, who barely reaches the Jamaican’s broad shoulders, crossed the line first in 10.02 to Bolt’s 10.03. The ease with which Bolt ran suggested a far different result when he’ll be seriously tested. Not to be outdone, the relaxed 22-year-old Bailey played the part of a medallist in waiting quite admirably.

    The race claimed a pair of strong names, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles (10.19) and British champion Simeon Williamson (10.23).

    Also running well was former World record holder Asafa Powell who breezed onward with a strong victory in Heat Three. Second or third out of the blocks, Powell got into gear quickly and gradually pulled away from American Darvis Patton. Easing up some 15 metres from the line, Powell clocked 9.95, the evening’s first sub-10 and fastest of the round, ahead of Patton (10.05) who finished runner-up. Trinidad’s Marc Burns was third in 10.12 to move on as well. 2001 World champion Kim Collins, fourth in 10.20, did not. The race also saw the departure of African record holder Olu Fasuba (10.25) and Frenchman Ronald Pognon (10.27).

    After a somewhat sluggish start, defending champion Tyson Gay was forced to work harder than he would have liked through the midway point of Heat Four before he finally took control. He won handily in 9.98, ahead of Jamaican Michael Frater (10.09), the 2005 silver medallist, and lanky Norwegian Jaysuma Ndure (10.16).

    After a pair of false starts, it was U.S. champion Michael Rodgers from gun-to-tape in Heat Two. Unfazed by the delay and running relaxed, the 24-year-old cruised to a 10.01 win. Briton Tyrone Edgar was next in 10.12, with Naoki Tsukahara (10.15) of Japan. Gerard Phiri needed a Zambian national record of 10.16 to advance on time. Guilty of the false start was French teenager Christophe Lemaitre’s whose season, which has included a 10.04 European junior record, ended on a down note with his unceremonious departure.

    From the gun, Heat One was dominated by Briton Dwain Chambers and Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson of Trinidad. Chambers got out well and maintained his lead, stopping the clock in 10.04, a season’s best. Thompson was never far behind, reaching the line second in 10.08. Further back, Frenchman Martial Mbandjock (10.22) advanced by right.

    Bob Ramsak for the IAAF