Justin Gatlin and Dwain Chambers have fought their way into position to tonight become just the second-ever two-time World indoor 60m champion after easily advancing from the three-heat semi-finals.
But it may be Gatlin, who took victory in Birmingham in 2003 the year before taking Olympic 100m gold, who looks the man to beat.
Gatlin, who had a substantial lead just 20 metres into the race, opened even more daylight on the field before beginning to ease up –ever so slightly- about ten metres from the finish.
After quickly glancing at his time – 6.49 which was later adjusted to 6.50 - Gatlin saluted the camera and then quickly sauntered, in his modest way, off the track.
Aziz Ouhadi of Morocco was well back in second with a 6.68 national record, edging Lithuania’s Rytis Sakalauskas for the second of two automatic tickets to the night-capping final at 20:00.
In the second heat, Jamaica’s lone hope Nesta Carter prevailed in 6.56. With a slight lead by midway, the powerfully built sprinter pulled away for good at 50 metres before easing across the line. While he didn’t look nearly as smooth as Gatlin, he obviously held plenty back in reserve.
2010 champion Dwain Chambers was next in 6.62 to advance comfortably, holding off Emmanuel Biron of France of who took the first of two slots in the final based on time.
Trell Kimmons, the world leader at 6.45, won the third heat, giving the U.S. a powerful 1-2 punch in the final. With the win and ticket to the final firmly in hand just halfway through the race, he slowed considerably over the last 15 metres giving the fast-closing Marc Burns (TRI) the opportunity to make up all but the scantest bit of the margin. Kimmons clocked 6.61 and Burns 6.62, while behind them, Canadian Justyn Warner (6.67) moved on as one of the two next fastest.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF