25th August, 2015
The duo of Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin on Tuesday remained on course for their 200 metres final rematch as both qualified with minimal fuss from their heats.
Bolt, from Jamaica and world champion in both the 100m and 200m, was emphatic in winning his race at the ongoing 15th IAAF World Championships.
Bolt, who has admitted to feeling weary in the aftermath of his extraordinary 100m victory at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing on Sunday, won the third heat in 20.28 seconds.
He then eased off with 40 metres to go, jogging across the line.
On his part, Gatlin ran a smooth 20.19 as he seeks revenge for his shock defeat on Sunday night.
Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, who trains with Bolt in Jamaica, won his heat in 20.13, while teammate Danny Talbot is also into Wednesday’s semi-finals after a 20.35 for third place in his heat.
Gatlin has run 19.57 this year while Bolt only raced over the distance once in his injury-hit summer before arriving in Beijing, an unimpressive 20.13 in New York two months ago.
Under normal circumstances that would make Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, clear favourite to win back the title he first took in Helsinki 10 years ago.
But Bolt does not do normal circumstances.
In the same stadium where he smashed the world record in winning 200m Olympic gold seven years ago, only those who are blind to history will discount his chances.
“The 200m means a lot more to me, but I’m a little worried about my fitness because I’ve not done many this year,” Bolt said in an interview.
“I think I am a better technical runner in this event. I am tired and a little sore, but I’m going to take another ice bath and I’ll be OK.”
In the women’s 400m, reigning world champion Christine Ohuruogu appears to be peaking at the perfect time once again.
She ran a season’s best of 50.16 seconds to reach the 400m final.