Sunday, 16 August 2009

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

World record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica qualifies for the final of the 100m with ease  (Getty Images)

World record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica qualifies for the final of the 100m with ease (Getty Images)

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    • Usain Bolt of Jamaica jokes around before his 100m semi-final
    • Britain's Dwain Chambers, USA's Tyson Gay and Jamaica's Asafa Powell in action during the second of the men's 100m semi-final
    • Tyrone Edgar of Great Britain & Northern Ireland looks on after his disqualification for a false start in the men's 100m semi-final
    • The second men's 100m semi-final
    It was just the warm up act, but it was one for the history books.

    Without trying particularly hard, Usain Bolt clocked a sizzling 9.89 in the first of two semi tonight. But what made his run, the fastest ever in a World championships semi-final round stand out, was the manner in which it eventually came to be.

    Theatre plays a major part in each of Bolt’s outings, and this was no exception.  First came a false start where Bolt was at fault, for the first time in his short 100m career. Hardly shaken, he toyed with the crowd as he settled in again, before a second false start was called, this time eliminating Briton Tyrone Edgar. When the race finally went off, Bolt immediately went to the front, had the race in the bag by midway, then simply coasted home, looking to his left and right, as the rest of the field gradually ate up the gap. It’s safe to say that Maurice Greene’s 9.90 from the 1997 championships in Seville, previously the fastest pre-final performance, wasn’t quite like this one. Barring major catastrophe or another sudden incomprehensible force majeure, the 22-year-old’s 9.69 World record from Beijing will certainly be under serious threat.

    Behind him, his training partner Daniel Bailey continued to impress, clocking a relaxed 9.96, with American Darvis Patton next in 9.98 to also move on.

    It didn’t quite measure up to Bolt’s playful meandering down the blue Olympic stadium track, but the second heat was nonetheless among the fastest ever at a World championships. As far back as third midway through the race, defending champion Tyson Gay of the USA powered through the next 40 metres before putting on the brakes to clock 9.93, just ahead of former World record holder Asafa Powell who crossed the line in 9.95. Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson (9.98) of Trinidad dipped under 10 seconds as well to move on as well.

    Trinidad’s Marc Burns (10.01) and Briton Dwain Chambers (10.04) round out the field. For Chambers, it will be his fourth appearance in the finals.

    Living up to its billing as the premiere highlight of the 12th World championships, tonight’s final, set for 21:35 CET (GMT +2), features history’s three fastest men.

    Bob Ramsak for the IAAF