Usain Bolt moved closer to realising his dreams of winning sprint “triple triple” when he jogged into the semifinals of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s 200m at the at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
But the Jamaican, who won a third successive 100m title on Sunday to set up his bid to repeat his haul of three gold medals in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay, fought off a stiff challenge from Nigerian sprint star Divine Oduduru to win the first round heat.
Bolt, who has said he wants to better his 2009 world record best of 19.19sec, clocked 20.28sec in winning the race, easing up a full 50 metres from the line. Oduduru, who is the current Nigeria’s 200m champion came second with a time of 20.34 sec.
“I hate morning heats so I’m happy to get this out of the way,”AFP quoted Bolt as saying.
“I was nervous because the 200m is my favourite event. I didn’t want to go out. It’s a good start and I’m happy.”
Holland’s Solomon Bockarie ran 20.42 to place third followed by Trinidad & Tobago’s Kyle Greaux (20.61) in the fourth position.
However, Bolt and Oduduru picked up the two automatic spots for Thursday’s semifinals.
Britain’s Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake qualified, as well as USA’s Justin Gatlin.
Another Nigerian, Tega Odele failed to qualify for the semis after coming last in Heat 3.
However, Tobi Amusan qualified for the semifinal of the women’s 110m hurdles after finishing fifth in Heat 5 clocking 12.99s, while Antwon Toritseju Hicks ran 13.70 to reach the men’s 100m hurdles semifinals.
Pre-event favourite Jamaica’s Omar McLeod won Heat 1 in a time of 13.28 followed by USA’s Jeff Porter in the second spot in 13.50. Jeffrey Julmis (13.66) of Haiti was third while Nigeria’s Hicks claimed fourth to round out the four automatic qualifiers from the race.