Event Report - Men's 200m - Heats
(L-R) Japan's Hitoshi Saito, France's Eddy De Lepine, Jamaica's Usain Bolt and Canada's Sam Effah in action during the men's 200m heats in Berlin (Getty Images)
The men's 200m was dealt a blow before this morning's first round even got underway, as defending champion Tyson Gay announced last night that he will be skipping the half-lap sprint to focus on the relay instead.
It means that the final will now boil down to a race against Usain Bolt and the clock. And if recent performances are anything to go by, the clock has been taking a battering from Bolt, the world record holder over 100m and 200m.
But his first task - however minor it may seem - is to make it through to tomorrow's final. Bolt made very easy work of this morning's first-round race in slightly cooler temperatures than previous days of this championships. He made a sluggish start, but quickly got into his running and found that a third-gear type pace was ample to get through, clocking 20.70, 0.04 ahead of Trinidad & Tobago's Rondell Sorrillo.
Olympic silver medallist Shawn Crawford recorded the fastest time this morning with 20.60 in the first heat and the US champion looks every bit a potential medallist.
Brendan Christian and Steve Mullings were winners of the second and third heats with respective times of 20.81 and 20.62.
Heat five, the slowest of the lot, was won by Marlon Devonish in 20.92 with youngster Ramil Guliyev of Azerbaijan 0.2 behind in second.
Panamanian newcomer Alonso Edward also impressed in the sixth heat, easing down to a 20.71 winning time. Martial Mbandjock of France looked very smooth winning heat seven in 20.65, but former World 100m champion Kim Collins and German sprinter Alexander Kosenkow were edged out of the top three qualifying spots. Collins' 20.83 was good enough to progress, but Kosenkow's 20.99 did not make the cut.
Jared Connaughton won the eighth heat in 20.82, and the ninth heat brought something for the German crowd to celebrate as Robert Hering won in 20.64 with two-time World medallist Wallace Spearmon close behind in 20.66. Jamaican 18-year-old Ramone McKenzie crossed the line in fifth and his 20.97 was just 0.03 away from grabbing one of the five fastest loser spots.
All of the other main protagonists, however, are through to tonight's quarter-finals. Aside from Gay, other notable non-starters included Dwain Chambers, Churandy Martina and Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, all of whom would have been expect to do quite well in this event.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF
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