Bolt, Blake ease into Olympic 200m semi-finals

Bolt, Blake ease into Olympic 200m semi-finals
By Eurosport

07/08/2012 at 20:17Updated 07/08/2012 at 22:54

Usain Bolt began his bid to complete an unprecedented Olympic sprint double-double by breezing through his opening 200 metres heat with the minimum of fuss.

Less than 48 hours after retaining his 100 crown in scintillating style, the Jamaican eased into Wednesday's semi-finals of his favourite event by winning the opening heat in a pedestrian 20.39 seconds.

The world's fastest man, hot favourite to follow up his Beijing 200 title and secure gold medals in both the 100 and 200 at successive Games, expended less energy than he does in training, sauntering around the bend before easing up in the home straight.

"Got to take it easy...that was an easy run," he told reporters.

"I am enjoying it. This is my favourite event so I am looking forward to it."

Bolt said his celebrations at scorching to 100 gold in 9.63 seconds, the second fastest time ever, were fairly muted.

"Nothing. I sat up and chilled," said the 200 world record holder who also has the fastest ever 100 time of 9.58 seconds. "I am full of energy. Some friends and I sat and talked."

Bolt's chief rival for gold, compatriot and training partner Yohan Blake, also eased through in 20.38.

"I'm feeling good, that's why they call me The Beast. The track is fast," said Blake, who took silver in the 100 having been talked up as the man to dethrone Bolt in the blue riband event of the Games.

American Wallace Spearmon, who finished third in Beijing but was then disqualified for stepping out of his lane, progressed along with Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre who carries Europe's outside hopes of a medal.

Lemaitre, the European 100 champion who skipped the shorter event in London to concentrate on the half-lap, won his heat but said he had room for improvement.

"The aim is still a medal, but technically I need to run better. I wasn't happy with my bend," he said.

With the leading protagonists doing the bare minimum ahead of tougher tasks ahead, Ecuadorean Alex Quinonez set the fastest time of the heats, setting a national record of 20.28.

Britain's Christian Malcolm joined them in the semis with a time of 20.54 seconds, but team-mate James Ellington could only manage 21.23 and will no longer take part.

The 200 final is on Thursday.