MOSCOW (AFP) – Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt remained on course to regain his 100 metres world title as he progressed into Sunday’s final at the World Athletics Championships.
Bolt, the 26-year-old world record holder, shadowed the diminutive American Mike Rodgers for most of his semi-final heat, the third of three.
Eyes pinned on the big screen, Bolt was in complete control of the race and edged Rodgers at the line by one-hundredth of a second in 9.92sec.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist, who also has five world gold medals, has three Jamaican teammates in the final for company: Nesta Carter, Nickel Ashmeade and Kemar Bailey-Cole.
They will be joined by Rodgers and his US teammate Justin Gatlin.
The fastest losers going through to the eight-man final were Briton James Dasaolu and Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre.
Gatlin, 2004 Olympic champion and double world sprint champion in 2005 but who then served a four-year doping ban, had the running of his heat after a false start by China’s Su Bingtian, coming home easily in 9.94sec, with Carter taking second in 9.97.
Dasaolu sped off in heat two but was tracked down by Ashmeade, who clocked a personal best of 9.90sec.
Bailey-Cole nabbed second in another personal best of 9.93sec, with Dasaolu timing 9.97.
“I am just relieved after the shocker I had yesterday. I wanted to come out and do myself justice,” said Dasaolu.
In the same heat, French hope Lemaitre and Zhang Peimeng were both credited with crossing the line in 10sec flat, a Chinese national record for the latter but still not enough to reach the final.
Briton Dwain Chambers, a three-time world 100m finalist, missed out after finishing sixth in his heat won by Ashmeade.
“I prepared the best I could and I thought my body could take it. I wanted to make the final so I am disappointed,” said Chambers.