Bolt easily advances to semifinals in 200 at worlds

BERLIN — Looking for his second gold medal of the world championships, Usain Bolt jogged across the line today to advance to the semifinals of the 200 meters.

Two days after setting a world record of 9.58 seconds to win the 100, the Olympic 200 champion ran a good curve and coasted through the final straight to finish in 20.41 seconds, a full 1.11 seconds behind his world record.

In the absence of injured defending champion Tyson Gay, Bolt is the overwhelming favorite for gold. He said he would try to get a second world record at the championships, too.

"I'll be running hard," Bolt said.

The Jamaican set a record of 19.30 seconds at the Beijing Olympics, widely considered one of the toughest to beat in the sport.

"I'm just trying to get through the rounds. That's my aim," Bolt said. "I'm trying to do it round by round like last year. Then I'll go to the finals and just execute."

Celebrating and showboating after winning the 100 on Sunday, he was short on antics this time. Blame it on fatigue since he had to be in the stadium early Tuesday for the first heat.

"I'm feeling a little tired, but nothing a good night's rest won't cure," Bolt said after his sixth race in four days.

Jamaican teammate Steve Mullings had the best qualifying time, winning his heat in 20.23. Shawn Crawford was third in 20.37, with American teammate Wallace Spearmon also easily advancing.

The U.S. team needs to change something quick to challenge the Jamaicans for sprint supremacy at the championships. They lost 5-0 in Olympic titles at the Beijing Games and are already 2-0 behind after the 100s. The specter of another rout is looming ever larger, especially with Gay out for the 200 and doubtful for the relays.

The final for the 200 is set for Thursday. Bolt is also favored to lead Jamaica to a sprint relay gold on Saturday to equal his feat of three golds at the Olympics.

In the 100 hurdles, two-time defending champion Michelle Perry was eliminated in the heat, finishing only seventh in her race. Perry injured her right knee in Monaco and had to fight to make the started block.

"It was a victory in itself," Perry said.

She is set to have surgery at home next week.

The United States still looked strong, with Olympic champion Dawn Harper and Damu Cherry both qualifying from their heats.

Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada had the top time of 12.56, ahead of Jamaican veteran Brigitte Foster-Hylton, who finished in 12.67.

Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt and defending champion Jeremy Wariner easily qualified for Wednesday's semifinals of the 400.

In the discus, overpowering Olympic and defending world champion Gerd Kanter qualified on his first throw.

"A very easy throw, controlled and enough to qualify and save my energy for the final," Kanter said.

Late Tuesday, there are finals are the men's triple jump, steeplechase and 400 hurdles, and the women's javelin and 400.

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