Olympics

Bolt eases into 200-meter semifinals

Image: Usain Bolt (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Usain Bolt was all business during the race, though he joked around afterward.
NewsCore AFP
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DAEGU, South Korea

Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt qualified fastest for the 200-meter semifinals Friday at the world championships as he attempts to put the misery of his 100-meter disqualification behind him.

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World record-holder Bolt showed no signs of nerves as he prepared for the first race of his title defense, wowing a frenzied crowd — a far cry from the distraught figure whose 100-meter dreams were left in tatters by a false start.

At a packed Daegu stadium, with many seats filled for the Friday morning session by schoolchildren, Bolt played the entertainer, goofing at the television cameras, showing the 'V' for victory, preening his hair and striking his trademark lightning-bolt pose.

The reigning world and Olympic 200 champion, wearing yellow spikes and a loose singlet over black shorts, clocked 20.30 seconds and never looked in danger after an impeccable start.

He was cautious off the blocks, registering the second-slowest reaction time in a field of 53 runners. Soon, however, he was into his stride and eased to victory in his heat, with several glances over his shoulder at the chasing athletes.

Bolt, who admits he is not in world-record shape this season (his world record in the 200 is 19.19), had insisted he would not dwell on the disappointment of his 100 disqualification.

The 25-year-old Jamaican, quickest in the world over the 200 this season with a run of 19.86 in Oslo, Norway, whisked himself past journalists after the race with thumbs upturned.

European champion Christophe Lemaitre and American Walter Dix — the silver medalist in the 100 in Daegu — also coasted through their heats along with Jaysuma Saidy Ndure of Norway and Berlin silver medalist Alonso Edward of Panama.

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