Bolt cruises into 200m semi-finals
Posted by Dresonic on August 19, 2008
The lanky 21-year-old, who is reported by the Financial Times to have boosted Puma’s sale of sneakers by two million pairs in the first hour after taking the 100m title on Saturday, was diplomatic when asked if he would go after Johnson’s 12-year-old record. “I’ll leave it all on the track,” he said.
For the record, Namibian legend Frankie Fredericks, who placed second to Johnson in that world record race in Atlanta, has joined the list of top class sprinters to tip Bolt to surpass the 19.32secs clocking.
“19.2, he’ll run 19.2,” Fredericks told the Observer following Sunday’s 100m medals ceremony.
American Johnson, who is commentating at these Olympic Games for the BBC and Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey, whose Olympic record of 9.84secs, which Bolt erased, both tipped Bolt to take the 200m record to a new dimension prior to the start of these Games.
Yesterday, Bolt cruised into the semi-finals of the half-lap event, barely working up a sweat to the surprise of the 91,000 spectators and thousands of accredited international media covering these Games. Bolt first returned 20.64secs for second in the fifth of eight preliminary heats, before literally strolling to 20.29 in the quarter-finals, making defending champion Shawn Crawford, who was drawn in the lane ahead of him, look ordinary.
“I just went out there to qualify and that was my first aim and I did just that,” the Glen Mills-coached sprinter said after his sixth race at these Games. Asked if he would be going for Johnson’s record of 19.32, Bolt replied: “I’m just going out there to lay it all on the track because this is my last (Individual) race and hope for the best,” he said, noting that he was a little tired after six races.
“But, I’m OK, I just need some rest ahead of the semi-final and final.”
Bolt, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday on August 21, has been drawn to run in lane six of semi-final two (today) along with the American pair of Wallace Spearmon and Crawford, Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis, Jaysuma Saidy Ndure of Norway and Antigua’s Brendan Christian.
Jamaica’s Chris Williams, the 2001 World Championship silver medallist, will run in lane nine of the semi-final along with 100m silver medallist Walter Dix and Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles. The third Jamaican, Marvin Anderson, who contested last year’s final in Osaka, pulled up injured after about 120 metres in his quarter-final with a left hamstring injury. The final is scheduled for tomorrow.
Bolt crowned himself the best sprinter of all time on Saturday by winning Jamaica’s first ever Olympic gold in the blue riband event by shaving 0.03 seconds off his previous world record of 9.72 established in New York on May 31.
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