After jumping the gun in the 100 metres final last Sunday, the Jamaican had the second-slowest start of the 22 semi-finalists but used his acceleration through the bend and powered down the finishing straight to show he was ready to defend his title today.
Bolt glanced to his left and right and kept looking up at the giant stadium screen. When he saw he was on his own, he turned off the power and trotted across the line before thrilling the fans with the slowest of “Lightning Bolt” moves.
“I’m feeling all right,” Bolt said. “Expect always the best from me. I always go out there and do my best.”
Overall, he was second to Christophe Lemaitre of France, and also saw rivals Walter Dix of the United States and Jamaican teammate Nickel Ashmeade advance.
Ahead of the semi-finals, he rattled off his usual antics in quick succession, from the slicking of hair to the body shaking and pistol firing. Once the racers were ready to go, he put his finger to his lips to hush the shrieking crowd.
Another golden triple is out of his grasp, but defending his 200 title is important enough.
When it was all over, his relief was such that he even threw one shoe right up into the upper deck of Daegu Stadium, where hundreds of young fans screamed out for him Bolt can still get a double if he wins the 200 and Jamaica also wins the sprint relay tomorrow.
During a busy night with six finals, David Storl of Germany broke an American stranglehold in the shot put with a toss of 71 feet, five-and-a-half inches, beating Dylan Armstrong of Canada and Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus. United States shot putters were shut out of the medals for the first time in two decades.
South African defending 800 champion Caster Semenya put a troubled season behind her with a powerful last lap to become the top qualifier for tomorrow’s final ahead of the year’s best performer, Mariya Savinova of Russia.
She ran perhaps the best race of her season in 1:58.07 to make her a medal contender while many thought she would fail to make the final.
In the women’s 4×400 relay, the United States easily qualified for the final even with its two best runners, Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross, sitting out the heat. Russia was even more impressive with a world leading 3:20.94. Jamaica and Britain also made it through easily.