Bolt wows fans with win
Daegu -Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt made his bow at the world championships on the opening night of action Saturday, wowing the Korean crowd as he eased into the 100m semi-finals.
The world record holder and defending champion, the most marketable sportsman on the globe, cruised to victory in his heat in 10.10sec in front of an ecstatic crowd in Daegu, qualifying fastest for the next round.
Bolt, who won the 100-200m sprint double both at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 Berlin worlds, is an even hotter favourite for the 100m after the withdrawal of his three biggest rivals on the world stage.
Compatriot Powell, the fastest man this season over the short sprint, was forced to pull out of the blue riband event on Thursday after failing to recover from a niggling groin injury.
Also missing from the Korean showdown are injured American Tyson Gay, the second fastest man in the world this year, and Jamaican Steve Mullings, the third quickest, who misses the worlds after a failed drugs test.
"I feel great. I did well. People are going to say what they want but I'll focus on what I want. Nobody has broken my world record," said Bolt.
"I've worked during the season. I've worked it out so that's why it looked so easy - focus and exercise. I was really happy because I worked hard all season. I finally got it right."
Bolt himself, who is well down the list of the world's fastest times this year with 9.88sec, has played down expectations that he will be in world record-breaking form, saying he is battling back to his best.
After storming to the 100m and 200m sprint double in then-world record times at the 2008 Olympics, Bolt repeated the trick a year later, setting new marks of 9.58 and 19.19sec. He also won the 4x100m relay at both events.
But an injury lay-off looks to have ended hopes to go even faster at the worlds in South Korea.
The 2004 Olympic champion, Justin Gatlin, who served a four-year ban for a doping offence which ended last year, also qualified in 10.31sec.
"I guess you can see this is some kind of flesh-eating virus on my ankle," said Gatlin, referring to frostbite he suffered in a cryogenic chamber.
"I'm just prepared to do (what it takes) and move myself up to the next round," he added.
Britain's Dwain Chambers, who served a two-year ban and received a life-time suspension from the Olympics in 2003 for using prohibited substance THG, also qualified in 10.28.
Also through to the semi-finals are Jamaicans Yohan Blake, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter and Americans Walter Dix and Trell Kimmons together with European champion Christophe Lemaitre of France.
"This is my first time in a world championship and I feel wonderful, trust me I feel good," said Blake.