OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: Bolt and Blake strut into 100m final
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By Sportsbeat staff, London 2012
USAIN Bolt strutted his way into the London 2012 100m final with ease, but qualified two tenths of a second behind compatriot and main rival Yohan Blake.
THE CHALLENGER: Usain Bolt's training partner Yohan Blake could prevent the world record holder from defending his 100m title
With just the top two of each semi-final, and the two fastest losers, qualifying for tonight’s final, places on the starting line for the greatest show on earth were at a premium.
All eyes were on Usain Bolt, who qualified with ease with 9.87 seconds, and some of his supporting players had the chance to lay down a marker for the 100m final – the blue ribbon event of the Olympics.
James Dasaolu was the first Brit to try to stake his claim for a place in tonight’s final and the 24-year-old Londoner lined up alongside former world record holder Asafa Powell and the USA’s Justin Gatlin.
But 2004 Olympic gold medallist Gatlin, making his Olympics return from a four-year ban for a failed drugs test, stormed to victory in 9.82 secs, with the Netherland’s Churandy Martina completing the top two with 9.91 secs to leave Jamaica’s Powell sweating on qualification with 9.94 secs and sending a disappointed Dasaolu out.
"My heats went really well but I expected to run a bit quicker. I started off really well, but I didn’t seem to flow with the rest of the guys over the last 30 to 40 metres," said Dasaolu.
"The crowd are great and I wanted to acknowledge them, but once I went into my blocks I focused again.
"I wanted to run a personal best and hopefully that would have got me to the final but I went slower than I did in my heat, so I’m disappointed with that."
Usain Bolt took his much anticipated place in the second semi-final alongside Team GB’s Dwain Chambers, the USA’s Ryan Bailey, and Richard Thompson, who he beat in superb fashion in Beijing.
And a cool run of 9.87 secs booked the Jamaican’s place in tonight’s showpiece alongside Bailey, who posted the fastest ever time in a 100m first round yesterday, as the American ran 9.96 secs.
For the second round in a row, Bolt qualified with ease and even relaxed towards the end – something that will strike fear into the heart’s of the seven men lining up beside him in the final.
And despite running a swift 10.05 secs, Chambers could not realise his dream of making an Olympics final.
"I wanted to do well and get to the final, but you know what, I’m just pleased to be here, I really am," he said.
"Deep down I’m gutted that I couldn’t make the final, but you can't have it all. It was worth all the heartache – it was worth all of it. To feel that roar and be in that atmosphere again, money can’t buy that.
"I’m glad that I fought this hard to get into this position and I look forward to round two, whenever that is.
"Bolt is going to be flying. I thought I had up until 60 metres and that was it. I run out of petrol. The boy's got talent."
Team GB’s Adam Gemili, the new kid on the athletics block, faced the formidable challenge of the heavily-tipped duo Tyson Gay and Yohan Blake in the third and final semi.
But the 18-year-old failed to secure his place in the final as Blake blitzed the field with 9.85 secs, ahead of the USA’s Gay in 9.90 secs to complete the semi-finals in style, however the teenager, who only turned a professional in January this year expressed delight with his first Games appearance.
"I’ve been working with my coach on my starts to help me out with my racing, but it wasn’t really there. But 10.06, I’m happy with that, but that fraction at the start has cost me a place in the final," said the former Chelsea academy player.
"I think it cost me a lot. I was behind and I was trying to maintain my form, but I came third in a semi-final of an Olympics – that’s great. It really is great. I only picked the sport in January and I’ve come and shown people what I can do.
"I can get better and better."
With all of the top qualifying places secured, the rest of the field were left sweating on which two would also book their places, and it was Thompson and Powell who went through as fastest.
© Sportsbeat 2012