|Jamaicaâs Usain Bolt cruised to victory in his 200-meter semifinal heat in Berlin. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)|
Bolt sails into 200-meter finals
BERLIN - Usain Bolt won the 200-meter semifinals with ease and swagger yesterday, looking sharp for a possible assault on a second world record at the world championships.
Jamaica didn’t have to wait until Bolt’s final today for another reggae celebration. Brigitte Foster-Hylton followed some Bolt-like clowning before the race with a clean run to win the 100 hurdles title.
Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada won the silver and Delloreen Ennis-London of Jamaica the bronze. The Americans were outrun again, with Olympic champion Dawn Harper fading to seventh.
The Americans have three golds and eight medals overall, just ahead of Jamaica with three golds and seven total.
Caster Semenya, an 18-year-old South African who has been asked to take a gender test, won the 800 with a stunningly dominating run. She took the lead halfway through and finished in a world-leading 1 minute, 55.45 seconds, beating defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya by a massive 2.45 seconds. Jennifer Meadows of Britain was third.
The world track and field federation requested the gender test for Semenya about three weeks ago after she improved her personal bests by wide margins.
Bolt thrived in the 80-degree heat, running hard on the curve before closing things down just past the halfway mark and cruising past the line in 20.08 seconds. Despite easing up, Bolt still had the fastest qualifying time.
If he had pushed, Bolt could easily have broken Tyson Gay’s 2007 championship record of 19.76 seconds. Bolt’s world record stands at 19.30.
His performance stood in sharp contrast with his run Tuesday when unseasonably cold weather turned him lethargic.
“I am feeling much better than yesterday,’’ Bolt said.
Defending champion Gay is injured and out of the 200, and American teammate Shawn Crawford had to push hard to qualify third in Bolt’s heat.
In the second semifinal heat, Wallace Spearmon of the US finished first in 20.14, edging Steve Mullings of Jamaica (20.26).
The temperature is expected to exceed 85 degrees today. Bolt cut through the swelter of Beijing last year on his way to three Olympic golds and as many world records.
Bolt tried to play down expectations of a record every time he lines up in a final. A foot injury slowed his curve running early in the season.
“I really have not done the same amount of work like I did for the 100,’’ Bolt said.
Defending 200 champion Allyson Felix easily won her heat to reach today’s semifinals. Likewise for Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica. Marshevet Hooker of the US had the fastest qualifying time of 22.51.
In the 1,500, defending champion Bernard Lagat came in third after he was boxed in behind winner Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain and silver medalist Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia.
In the decathlon, Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine led after five events. Yunior Diaz of Cuba had a fast 400-meter race, the last event of the day, to squeeze past Trey Hardee of the US into second place.
Robert Hartig of Germany captured the discus with a throw of 227 feet, 9 inches.