Usain Bolt today issued an ominous warning to the challengers for his World Championship title with a commanding victory in the heats of the 100 metres in Daegu.
Bolt admitted two days ago that he was not in the same sort of shape which saw him win the sprint double in Berlin two years ago, setting world records in both events for good measure.
But the 25-year-old Jamaican looked in impressive form on the opening evening of the championships in South Korea, cruising to a time of 10.10 seconds – the fastest in qualifying – despite glancing around from halfway and easing down to the line.
“I felt great,” said Bolt, who saw perhaps his biggest rival, compatriot Asafa Powell, withdraw from the event with injury earlier this week.
“I got a great start. I feel so happy. I’ve been working on it so hard throughout the whole season. I got it when it’s necessary so I’m happy. A lot of work has gone into it.”
Asked about the perception that he can now produce another spectacular time in the semi-finals or final, Bolt added: “If people want to think that...I’m just saying I’m here to defend my title and show the world, ’Look, I’m still the best’.”
Britain’s Dwain Chambers was second in the heat, behind Bolt, and said: “Judging from what I saw there’s nothing wrong with him and he’s more than capable of winning.
“Having Usain in the heats helps you get used to situations like that and competitors of his calibre.”
Bolt’s compatriot Yohan Blake was the second fastest qualifier in 10.12secs, with European champion Christophe Lemaitre, former world and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin and Trinidad’s Richard Thompson all advancing.