Early bird Bolt coasts into 200m semis

Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:05pm EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Usain Bolt roused a quiet morning at the Olympic stadium as only he can on Tuesday, remaining firmly on course for his historic 'triple triple' by coasting through the 200 meters heats in 20.28 seconds.

Racing in the ninth heat and cheered every step of the way by the sparse but vocal crowd, the Jamaican led coming off the bend and was able to take his foot off the gas to progress comfortably to Wednesday's semi-finals.

Bolt secured the 100 meters title on Sunday to take another step on the path to an unprecedented third successive sweep of all three Olympic sprint titles -- 100, 200 and 4x100 meters.

The Jamaican considers the 200 his specialist event and has promised to mount a Rio assault on his 1999 world record of 19.19, but that will have to wait for the final.

"I've recovered but I'm a bit tired," Bolt told reporters.

"I'm not really a morning person, I just came out here to qualify and that's what I did. I get nervous because it's my favorite event and I don't want to lose. I'll be much better tomorrow."

The man most likely to beat him, Justin Gatlin, also had no problems getting through, even if he coasted through the final 20 meters to win his heat in a relatively pedestrian 20.42.

The American said he had already moved on from the disappointment of being beaten once again at a major championship by Bolt after winning silver in the 100.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Preliminary - Men's 200m Round 1 - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 16/08/2016. Usain Bolt (JAM) of Jamaica competes. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes