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.


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