BEIJING, China – Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt both won their respective semi-finals to cruise into the men’s 200m final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, on Wednesday.
World leader Gatlin won his semi-final heat in 19.87 seconds after blasting around the corner and powering down the home straight.
The American eased down in the closing 20 metres to save something for the final as he looks to make up for losing the 100m gold medal to Bolt last Sunday.
Bolt, who admits to being a little tired after the race, looked even more relaxed in his heat as he posted a seasonal best time of 19.95 seconds to win the third and final semis.
“I’m a bit tired as expected,” Bolt, who missed a lot of his training because of an injury, told BBC Sports in his post-race interview. “Right now I’m feeling ok.”
The Jamaican world record holder admits that he wasn’t trying to run too fast in the semi-finals.
“I’m just trying to reserve as much as possible,” he said. “I ran the corner at about 90%.
“The 200m is my best event. I know I’m going to do well, that is not a question.”
Also booking a place into Thursday’s final was Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, the training partner of Bolt at the Racers Track Club under coach Glen Mills, as he won semi-final heat one in 20.14 secs.
Jamaican champion Nickel Ashmeade finished second to Hughes in 20.19, but his countryman and silver medal winner from Moscow in 2013, Warren Weir, who also trains with Bolt, finished seventh in the heat in 20.43 and will not make the final.
Alonso Edward of Panama is also in the final after finishing second to Gatlin in 20.02, with Femi Ogunode setting a Qatar national record of 20.05 to qualify as well.
South Africa’s Anaso Jobodwana ran a personal best of 20.01 for second place to Bolt and Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev ran 20.10 to collect the last qualifying spot.