LONDON: Imperious Usain Bolt eased through the first round of the Olympic 200m as the Jamaican took the next step towards a sprint double after having already retained his 100m title in style.
Reigning champion Bolt showed no signs of fatigue as he ran the bend hard before relaxing in the home straight and strode over the line to win in 20.39s in the first heat.
“This was an easy run, I am enjoying it,” said Bolt. “This is my favourite event so I am looking forward to it.”
His main challenger for the 200m, Yohan Blake, also negotiated his passage into the next round with ease, as the Jamaican, who took the silver behind Bolt in the short sprint, won his heat in 20.38s. Blake said it was possible Bolt’s three-year-old world record of 19.19s could be under threat in the later rounds.
“The track is fast and Usain is fast so anything is possible,” said Blake.
European challenger Christophe Lemaitre of France also went through after winning his heat in 20.34s. The challenge for the US will come from Wallace Spearmon, who qualified second in his heat, while his US teammate Maurice Mitchell also went through with a time of 20.54s to win his heat.
Bolt stormed to the 100m gold medal on Sunday in an Olympic record 9.63s, the second fastest time in history, as he banished any doubts about his form following an inconsistent season.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.