Usain Bolt looks close to his best once more in 100m semi-finals


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The Independent Online

Seven of the eight qualifiers for tonight's 100m Olympic final ran under 10 seconds in the semi-finals as defending champion Usain Bolt looked close to his brilliant best once more.

Bolt was only the third fastest qualifier overall in 9.87 seconds, but the Jamaican was easing down from a long way out despite having being slowest out of the blocks.

America's Justin Gatlin was the quickest in 9.82secs, with world champion Yohan Blake - a training partner of Bolt nicknamed 'The Beast' - clocking 9.85s.

Former world champion Tyson Gay was fourth fastest in 9.90, but British trio Adam Gemili, Dwain Chambers and James Dasaolu all missed out on the final.

Gemili, 18, recovered from a poor start to snatch third on the line behind Blake and Gay in 10.06, while Chambers (10.05) was fourth in his semi and 10th fastest overall and Dasaolu (10.18) seventh in the first semi.

Gemili only started concentrating on athletics in January after calling time on his football career, but won the world junior title in Barcelona last month and has been tipped for greatness by Gay.

"For me it feels really, really good that I was able to come in here and do well, show what I can do," he said. "I feel there was more to come and I didn't get to show it but that wasn't meant to be, but to come third against two of the best sprinters in the world at the moment isn't too bad.

"The crowd really gee you up and give you a boost. I was feeling good and feeling relaxed, I just wanted to go out there and run.

"It has definitely given me a taste for more. I am going to go back to the drawing board and work hard with my coach and hopefully come out next year and run even quicker.

"I think I just need to keep doing what I'm doing. I think I've progressed quite a lot this year so next year I think I need to just keep working on little things and hopefully the times will drop down.

"The football career will now take a back seat. I'll stick with athletics for now."