Cautious Bolt 53rd quickest out of blocks – but still hot favourite

There was never much danger of lightning striking twice as Usain Bolt got back on his mark in the World Championship arena in Daegu yesterday.

Five days on from the false start disqualification that cost him his 100m title, the "Lightning Bolt" was taking no chances on his return to the track for the first two rounds of what for the Jamaican now is his redemption event, the 200m.

In the first-round heats the world's fastest man held himself firmly in check in his blocks until the bang of the starter's gun. His reaction time, 0.314sec, was slower than all but one of the 53 sprinters in the seven heats, yet Bolt still strolled comfortably to victory, clocking 20.30sec.

In his semi-final he lingered in his blocks again, registering the slowest reaction in his race, and again the second slowest overall, but coasted to victory in 20.31sec. Christophe Lemaitre clocked a faster winning time in the opening semi-final, 20.17sec, but the young Frenchman pushed hard all of the way to the line.

The only man capable of stopping Bolt in the final today is the person who scuppered him in the 100m final: himself. And, after the anguish of last Sunday, do not expect Bolt to be struck down by another self-inflicted false start.

"I will try not to false start again," he said. "It's compelling to stay in the blocks as long as possible. I will try to listen to the gun and be focused, because it's the 200m and there's room for mistakes."

The mistake Bolt made on the starting blocks in the 100m final, of course, was not holding back and risking giving his rivals a split-second advantage, but jumping the gun. "It was my fault," he insisted, rejecting the suggestion that his training partner and eventual race winner, Yohan Blake, had triggered his false start by twitching in the lane beside him. "I can't blame anybody else. I false started.

"If Yohan moved a little bit, it was still for me to stay in my blocks. I'm happy for him. He did well and he deserves it. I see him every day and he works hard, harder than me.

"After the race I just thought, 'I've got to move on from this. I've got the 200m to go. I can't get stressed about this.' For me, the big thing is the Olympics and I have to focus on that."

After the travails of last Sunday – when he ripped his shirt over his head, banged his fists in frustration against the trackside wall, and generally performed as close an impression as he is ever likely to get to a raging King Lear – Bolt was back in sangfroid mode yesterday, clowning to the trackside television cameras and playing to the gallery of the crowd.

"I'm back to my old self," he said. Which is bad news for the rest of the field in the 200m final. Bolt has not lost at what has always been his favourite distance since 2007.

Pick Of The Weekend Action


11am: Women's high-jump final

Reigning champion and second highest jumper of all-time, Blanka Vasic, is the woman to beat. The Croatian will face tough competition from Russian pair Elena Slesarenko and Anna Chicherova.

12.15pm: Men's 1500m final

Former champion Mehdi Baala of France is among those with a chance but Silas Kiplagat starts as favourite. The 22-year-old Kenyan boasts the fastest time this year and was in stellar form in the semis.

1.20pm: Men's 200m final

Usain Bolt was impressive in his semi-final and the 25-year-old hasn't lost a 200m race in four years – it would be a monumental surprise if he was beaten.


11.05am: Men's triple-jump final

Defending champion, Phillips Idowu, qualified with his first jump yesterday, and the 32-year-old is arguably Britain's best hope of adding to their solitary gold.

11.40am: Men's 5,000m final

Favourite Mo Farah made amends for his 10,000m disappointment by qualifying for this final in fine style.

12.15pm: Women's 800m final

Britain's Jenny Meadow watches on as the likes of Caster Semenya and Mariya Sarinova fight it out for glory.

1pm: Men's 4x100m relay final

Britain's quartet will have to find a way past a Bolt-inspired Jamaica.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own