Tired Bolt and Gatlin cruise into 200 meters semis
By Nick Mulvenney
BEIJING (Reuters) - A tired Usain Bolt and an emotionally fatigued Justin Gatlin progressed towards their second blockbuster sprint showdown of the world championships by easing through the 200 meters heats on Tuesday.
Bolt, who beat Gatlin to retain his 100 meters title at the Bird's Nest on Sunday, shot out of the blocks and led for the entire race before easing up over the final 15 meters to cross the line in 20.28 seconds.
The 29-year-old Jamaican said he was still feeling the effects of the 100 meters but will be looking to raise the pace in Wednesday's semi-finals before peaking for Thursday's final, where he could win a fourth successive 200 meters gold.
"Tired, tired, tired," the Olympic champion and world record holder told reporters.
"This means a lot more to me. I'm a little worried about my fitness and I need to work a lot over 200m. But I'm a better technical runner over the 200m so we'll see what happens.
"I'm tired and my legs are still sore, but I'm going to have another bath tonight and, hopefully, tomorrow I'll be there."
Gatlin, unbeaten in the 200 meters since 2013 and the 2005 world champion at the distance before his second doping ban, was even more dominant in the following heat, maintaining his form through the line to win in 20.19.
The 33-year-old American, who owns the fastest time of the year (19.57), said he would have eased up but for the presence behind him of Japan's Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, who finished second in 20.35. Continued...