Bolt cruises into 200m semi-finals

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Usain Bolt, searching for an elusive Olympic sprint double, cruised into the semi-finals of the men's 200m in another effortless display of sprinting.

Updated: August 22, 2008 09:15 IST
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Jamaica's Usain Bolt, searching for an elusive Olympic sprint double, cruised into the semi-finals of the men's 200m here today in another effortless display of sprinting.

Bolt, who bettered his own world record when he won the 100m on Saturday, came off the bend well in front and eased off with fully 50 metres to go, crossing the line in what looked like nothing more than a saunter.

He timed 20.29 seconds, with defending 200m champion Shawn Crawford of the United States in second at 20.42sec and veteran Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis stealing third from Briton Marlon Cavendish.

The 21-year-old Bolt, who has run the three fastest 200m times this year including the fifth fastest ever - 19.67sec in Athens - is bidding for a first Olympic sprint double since American Carl Lewis achieved the feat at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

"I'm just looking to go out and show the world how hard I'm working," said Bolt. "I'm satisifed that I was leading all the way and I'm qualified for the semi-final.

"After the 100m, I had little time for celebration. All I have done is a big sleep and some relaxation. I just take it on my own."

Other runners through to the semis included Zimbabwe's Brian Dzingai, who followed up his first round victory with an impressive 20.23sec win ahead of 100m bronze medallist Walter Dix.

The American hit the final stretch neck-and-neck with Dzingai but faded before rebounding in the last 10 metres to finish second in 20.27sec.

"I came off the bend and controlled the straight," said Dix. "That is exactly what I wanted to do, I didn't want to give too much away. I wanted to save as much energy as possible for the semi-finals."

Jamaican Christopher Williams beat Welshman Christian Malcolm by a head into third. Both Cavendish and Malcolm advanced to tomorrow's semi-finals as two of the four fastest qualifiers outside the top three in the four heats.

Wallace Spearmon, who won 200m bronze at the worlds in Osaka last year and silver in Helsinki in 2005, also qualified in 20.39sec behind surprise heat winner Paul Hession of Ireland, who produced a strong final 60 metres.

One runner who could be in the shakedown for the medals is Churandy Martina of the Dutch Antilles, who finished fourth in Saturday's 100m and qualifed in the 200m with 20.42sec.

Defending champion Crawford had earlier said that he felt under no pressure to follow up on his gold medal-winning exploits at the Athens Games four years ago.

"I don't have to defend anything, the 2004 medal is mine and nobody can take it," he said, adding that "everyone is beatable".

"I am here to shoot for the 2008 medal, we are all doing the same - trying to shoot for that gold," Crawford said. "I'm ready to fight. If I wasn't ready to fight I wouldn't be here.

"The legs feel good, I am ready to go."

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