• London 2012 - Athletics

Bolt wins heat in low-key style

ESPN staff
August 4, 2012 « Ennis on brink of heptathlon gold | Chartbeat test »
Usain Bolt eases home from James Dasaolu to win a 100m heat © PA Photos
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Usain Bolt eased through the first round of the 100m, but his performance answered few questions about the Olympic champion's fitness.

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Bolt has not looked anywhere near peak form this year, being beaten in the Jamaican trials, and he came into London 2012 with a cloud hanging over him.

He won his heat, but did not greatly impress and will have to find more if he is to repeat the win of four years ago in Beijing.

Bolt entered the arena in his usual relaxed mood, wearing a Jamaica hoodie and hat. He milked the crowd before settling into his blocks.

He was fairly well away from the gun, which was a surprise given his false start at the World Championships, but he did stumble for a stride. It took him a couple of strides to regain his momentum but he was quickly up on the field. He had a look across his left and right before easing off the gas and cruising over the line in 10.08.

Britain's James Dasaolu was drawn alongside Bolt the champion dragged the Brit to a time of 10.13 and a qualification place.

Yohan Blake is seen as the main rival to Bolt, being the fastest man in the world this year and the winner of the Jamaican trials, and he eased home in 10 seconds without making any apparent effort.

Oscar Pistorius competes in the men's 400m © PA Photos
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Dwain Chambers had to go through a drawn-out affair before his place at the Olympics was confirmed. It was certainly worth the wait as he powered to victory in his heat. He had to wait for the final heat to get his chance to shine, but he did not let it bother him as he got out well and ran to the line in an eased-down time of 10.02.

USA's Tyson Gay proved he is in decent shape by easing to victory in his heat in a time of 10.08.

Justin Gatlin responded to his team-mate Gay by dipping under 10 seconds. He powered out of the blocks, was quickly upright and in his running and clocked an impressive 9.97.

And the third American, Ryan Bailey, was the most impressive of all as he sauntered home in a hugely imposing time of 9.88 - which equals his personal best.

Asafa Powell won his heat in a time of 10.04, but he was made to work harder than he probably would have liked by British teenager Adam Gemili. The 18-year-old ha burst onto the scene in recent weeks and he burst out of the blocks. Gemili was well up on Powell at the 40m mark, but the Jamaican came storming through as he and Gemili qualified.

Martyn Rooney, Nigel Levine and Conrad Williams all advanced through to the 400m semi-finals, but the big story was the sight of defending LaShawn Merritt pulling up down the back straight. The American came into the event under an injury cloud and the rumours proved correct as he never stretched out at any stage and limped off the track.

Oscar Pistorious posted a season's best of 45.44 to qualify, while Jonathan Borlee - who was joined in qualifying by his brother Kevin - posted the fastest time of 44.43

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