Bolt, Gatlin through to 100 fi­nal at worlds

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

The big­gest show­down in years is on, de­spite a shock­ing stum­ble from Usain Bolt. The Olympic cham­pion and Justin Gatlin are in the 100-me­ter fi­nal at the world cham­pi­onships af­ter both won their semi­fi­nal heats Sun­day in the most con­trast­ing of ways. Bolt, al­ways the hes­i­tant starter, stum­bled out of the blocks and had to chase hard through­out his heat to qual­ify in 9.96 sec­onds. The con­fi­dent swag­ger ahead of the race im­me­di­ately changed into a dis­gusted shak­ing of the head af­ter the early er­ror al­most cost him the fi­nal. ''I think I hit my foot too hard,'' Bolt said. ''I just stum­bled. I re­ally don't know what hap­pened.'' The Ja­maican great had as many as seven rac­ers to catch be­fore win­ning the heat. Anx­ious, he spent the last 10 me­ters look­ing to his left to make sure he would make the fi­nal. As much as Bolt's race was chaotic, Gatlin's heat was sheer per­fec­tion - fast out of the blocks, great ac­cel­er­a­tion and a light­ning fast pump­ing stride be­fore he started coast­ing. And he still fin­ished in 9.77 sec­onds, a time Bolt has not come close to this year. It more than showed the chal­lenge Bolt faces in Sun­day's fi­nal, like over­com­ing mem­o­ries of that stum­ble. ''I'm not wor­ried about that. I'm wor­ried about be­ing con­sis­tent,'' Bolt said. At the world cham­pi­onships in Daegu four years ago, Bolt false-started in the fi­nal of the 100, the only blot on his record of per­fec­tion since win­ning three gold medals with as many world records at the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics.

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