Bolt on track to recapture 100 title at worlds
MOSCOW (AP) — At the end of Day 1, Usain Bolt is on track to recapture the 100-meter gold he lost at the last world championships and Mo Farah already has the 10,000 title he missed out on two years ago.
Even if a false start in his heat was reminiscent of what disqualified him in the 2011 final, it was the runner next to him that was sent packing, not Bolt.
On the second attempt, the Jamaican set off confidently and cruised all the way to a time of 10.07 seconds for the 7th fastest time of the day.
“I wasn’t really worried,” Bolt said of the false start. “I was a listening for the gun, so that was good.”
It did not faze him one bit. After all, the stadium had been filled with the reggae sounds of Bob Marley’s classic “Three Little Birds,” with the lyrics “Don’t worry, ’bout a thing. ’Cause every little thing is gonna be all right.”
Two Americans had the top times with Mike Rodgers clocking 9.98 and 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin also dipping under 10, with 9.99.
Looking around him though, Bolt will know he is the overwhelming favorite in the absence of injured defending champion Yohan Blake and American star Tyson Gay, who is out because of a doping scandal.
“I am in great shape,” Bolt said.
Bolt will be looking to add the 200 and the 4x100 relay title to make it a golden triple one year after a similar feat at the London Olympics.
Out on the track, his “Lightning Bolt” pose was only matched by Farah’s “Mobot,” holding his hands over his head in a heart shape.
In a tantalizing finish to the 10,000, the double Olympic long-distance champion from Britain had to fight off defending champion Ibrahim Jeilan over the last 150 meters. But instead of giving in at the line like he did two years ago, Farah’s finishing speed was such that he had time to cover his face with his hands and cross the line with his arms wide open.
“I won the medal that was missing,” Farah said.
Farah now has to defend his 5,000 title next Friday and, at 30, establish himself as the defining long-distance racer of his time with another 5,000-10,000 double in as many years.
Farah had been honing his finishing kick all season, and when he became the fastest European of all time over 1,500 meters last month, he knew he was a world beater.
So did all of Britain, convinced he could do as well as his double at the London Olympics, and the relief of living up to expectations was visible as soon as he crossed the line.
The relief was all the more so since he almost tripped when he briefly surged into the lead with about four laps to go.
He kissed the Mondo blue track and fell on his back looking up at a sky over the Luzhniki Stadium which was just as perfectly blue.
Temperatures were close to 81 degrees F when Farah ran, but it was even higher when defending champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya won the first gold medal of the world championships with a blazing late kick on a scorching afternoon.
Like the morning qualifying session, few fans were on hand to cheer as Kiplagat entered the stadium well ahead of surprise silver-medalist Valeria Straneo of Italy, also a mother in her 30s.
As the marathoners made their way up to Red Square, there were huge empty spaces where fans should have been.
In the decathlon, 20-year-old Gunnar Nixon set the 10-event competition ablaze in his first major global meet. But after a huge effort in the 400, American teammate Ashton Eaton, the Olympic champion, kept himself in the lead after five of 10 events.
Eaton, the world-record holder, clocked 46.02 seconds to run the fastest decathlon 400 at a world championships and build a slight 4,502-4,493 lead over Nixon.
Two-time defending champion Trey Hardee dropped out with a hamstring injury after failing to clear any height in the high jump.
“So far, he’s on fire,” Hardee said of Nixon. “I hope he keeps it up.”