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Dash heavyweights get off to a fast start

By Eddie Pells
Associated Press / August 15, 2008
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BEIJING - This looked more like a workout than a true test. Either way, Tyson Gay easily made it through the first round of the Olympic 100-meter dash today.

Racing for the first time since crumpling to the track with a hamstring injury six weeks ago, America's fastest sprinter enjoyed an uneventful debut at the Beijing Games, coasting to the finish to win his preliminary heat in 10.22 seconds.

World record-holder Usain Bolt and fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell also advanced comfortably, winning their heats. The quarterfinals were set for later today.

"It feels good," Gay said, referring to his left hamstring. "I felt a little sluggish the first round, but my body is woke up now."

All three are expected to make today's final. The trio has run the eight fastest times ever.

Americans Darvis Patton and Walter Dix also finished in the top three in their heats to advance. Dix also qualified for the US team in the 200.

In its battle with China to top the medal standings, the US team will need any piece of precious metal it can get and the shot putters could add three tonight.

"It's going to be an awesome event," said Adam Nelson, who threw 20.56 meters despite a rib cage injury.

Christian Cantwell went through with 20.48 and world champion Reese Hoffa had 20.41.

Tomasz Majewski of Poland had the top throw of 21.04.

In the women's 800, Kenyans Pamela Jelimo and Janeth Jepkosgei breezed through into tomorrow's semifinals, easily winning their heats. The showdown between the two in Monday's final is one of the most anticipated races of the Games.

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