Usain Bolt reached the semi-finals of the 200m, in which he is defending champion and two-time Olympic gold medal winner, with a time of 20.28 seconds.
Bolt did not set the fastest time among all athletes who qualified but finished on top in his heat. The Jamaican, who became the first man to win the Olympic 100m title for a third time on Sunday, said to be optimistic going into the semis of his favored event.
Bolt aims to win the 200 meters at the Rio Olympics and break his world record (WR) in that category, which stands at 19.19 seconds. He set the record at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin and is unbeaten over 200m since 2007.
Fellow silver and bronze medalists in the 100m Justin Gatlin (USA) and Andre De Grasse (Canada), respectively, also qualified for the final along with Bolt’s compatriot Yohan Blake, who finished fourth on Sunday.
Pinder got disqualified at the 200m heat
The 200m features ten races in the first round, three semi-final races and the final. Each heat contains eight athletes. The top two from every heat and the four fastest non-qualifiers progress to the semi-final. The top two from each semi-final race and the two fastest non-qualifiers reach the final.
In the Heat 1, serious contender Demetrius Pinder of the Bahamas made a false start and got disqualified. Yohan Blake, barely out of the podium in the 100m final, was in Heat 2 and qualified behind winner Spain’s Bruno Hortelano.
Bahrain’s Salem Eid Yaqoob finished first in Heat 3 as both Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev and Canada’s Aaron Brown crossed the line at the same time in what was a very close affair.
— York Regional Police (@YRP) August 15, 2016
De Grasse recorded the fastest time
Justin Gatlin ran in Heat 5 and won with ease, while Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade finished first in Heat 6, and Costa Rica’s Nery did likewise in Heat 7. American Lashawn Merritt, the bronze medalist in the 400m, took first place in Heat 8 ahead of France’s Christophe Lemaitre.
In Heat 9, when the world’s fastest man reached the 100m the rest of the pack were so far behind that Bolt jogged the last 10 meters to the finish line. He was not the fastest of all, but that’s because they almost didn’t test him.
Andre De Grasse ran in Heat 10 and clocked at 20.09 seconds, the fastest time in the qualifying round. England’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake finished second with a time of 20.24 seconds.
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) August 16, 2016
The eight gold medal would get Bolt smiling again
The 29-year-old, who announced this was going to be his final Olympics, is looking to claim his eighth gold medal. The 200m semi-finals are on Wednesday and the final on Thursday.
Bolt expects the day’s rest in the 200m give him the chance to break his seven-year-old WR of 19.19 secs. He couldn’t beat his mark of 9.58 seconds in the 100 meters, another WR, alleging it was due to the short amount of rest time between semis and final.
After smiling at the camera during the 100m semi-final last Sunday, he’s also looking to have the last laugh in the 200m final.