By Spencer Darlington
Reporting from the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London
11-time World Championship gold medallist Usain Bolt began his last 100m campaign on the international stage by leading three Jamaicans into the semi-finals of the event on Friday’s opening day of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the London Stadium.
Bolt who will hang up his spikes at the end of the championships, recovered from a sluggish start to clock a moderate 10.08 seconds in advancing to Saturday’s semi-finals.
Julian Forte was the most impressive Jamaican qualifier, clocking a personal-best equaling 9.99 seconds to win his heat and advance as the fastest qualifier.
2011 champion Yohan Blake was made to work overtime after a sluggish start as well, taking the runner-up spot in his heat in 10.13 seconds. The fourth Jamaican who contested the event, Senoj-Jay Givans, failed to advance as he could only manage10.30 seconds for seventh in his heat.
Americans Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman, the fastest man this year, also made progress after winning their respective heats in 10.05 and 10.01 seconds respectively.
Elsewhere, national champion Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle both made it to Saturday’s final of the men’s discus. Dacres continued his excellent form this season with a throw of 64.82 metres to advance automatically while Smikle just made the cut after his effort of 61.23 metres placed him seventh in Group A of the qualification round to get the 12th and last place into the final.
Damar Forbes cut the sand at 7.93 metres to place 8th in his flight and 10th overall in the men’s long jump qualification.
However, there was no such luck for national champion Ramone Bailey who could only manage 7.76 metres which placed him 10th in his group. Thirteen Jamaicans will be in action on Saturday’s second day of competition.
The first up will be national champion and record holder Odayne Richards who will contest the men’s shot put qualification at 4:00 am Jamaica time.
Nathon Allen, Demish Gaye and Steven Gayle will bow into action in the heats of the men’s 400m at 4:45 am while Kimberly Williams and Shanieka Ricketts will go in the women’s triple jump qualification at 5:00 am.
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, Jura Levy, Simone Facey and Natasha Morrisson will run in the heats of the women’s 100m at 5:45 am.
The afternoon segment will have the men’s 100m semi-finals with Bolt, Blake and Forte at 1:05 pm Jamaica time while the discus final with Dacres and Smikle is set for 1:26 pm.The men’s long jump final featuring Damar Forbes is slated to start at 2:05 pm.