BEIJING, China, Sporting Alert – Justin Gatlin flashed to the fastest time heading into the 100m finals at the IAAF World Championships, but Usain Bolt struggled to get through in Beijing.
Gatlin Looks A Certain Gold Medalist
The American, who has been in superb form this season, won the second of the three semi-finals in 9.77 seconds and looked to have more in the tank.
The world-leader, on the back of that performance, looks a certain bet to capture the gold medal later tonight (Beijing time), as his main challengers continue to struggle to keep up with his pace.
Fellow American Mike Rodgers took second in the semis in 9.86 secs and he too will be in the final.
In the opening semi-final heat, world record holder Bolt had a poor start and then had to keep himself from falling after the first few steps.
The Jamaican was able to keep his composure and rushed back from being in fifth place to take the heat in 9.96 seconds.
A shake of the head as he crossed the finishing line was a clear sign that the reigning sprint double champion was not happy with his performance and would need to improve the opening part of his race if he wants to keep up with Gatlin.
Canadian Andre De Grasse, who was just pipped at the line by Bolt, ran 9.97 seconds to book his place in the final as well, with Trayvon Bromell of USA and China’s Bingtian Su, who both ran 9.99 secs getting the fastest losers spot after finishing third and fourth, respectively in the heat.
NOTE: There will be nine sprinters in this year’s final after the judges were unable to separate Bromell, Su and Jimmy Vicaut of France who all ran 9.99 secs.
The third semi-final went to American champion Tyson Gay, with the Jamaican champion Asafa Powell right next to him in second place.
Gay came home in 9.96 secs to edge out Powell, at 9.97 and these two sprinters know they too will need to improve significantly if they are to challenge Gatlin.
The American certainly looks above and beyond his rivals, and even Bolt would need to deliver something spectacular to stop him from becoming the world champion.