Usain Bolt in the 100m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Report: men's 100m semi-finals – Rio 2016 Olympic Games

With the posturing and posing of the first round over it was time for the more business-like semi-finals, right

Wrong.

It was time for more posturing and posing, at least from the defending champion Usain Bolt, who ran a storming semi-final time of 9.86 – his second fastest ever in a global semi-final and just 0.01 slower than he ran at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Bolt, ominously for his rivals, barely raised a sweat and spent much of the second half of the race either glancing around at his chief rival Andre de Grasse or grinning.

It was some statement ahead of the final later on Sunday.

Behind, Andre de Grasse ran a great race to take second in 9.92 to match his best and the time he ran when winning a bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, and he became the first Canadian to reach a men’s Olympic 100m since Donovan Bailey 20 years earlier.

In the scramble behind, IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 60m champion Trayvon Bromell pipped Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah of Great Britain in a photo-finish. Both athletes ran 10.01 but only the American advanced on time.

Japan’s Ryota Yamagata ran a quality PB of 10.05 for fifth with the 40-year-old Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis missing out on the final at his fifth Olympics, placing sixth in 10.12.

Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin clinched an expected victory in the third and final semi-final in 9.94 but appeared to be working much harder than Bolt.

The US champion made a bullet-like start but was only able to shake off the close attentions of Yohan Blake in the final 30 metres to secure the victory by 0.07 from the Jamaican.

Blake, the 2011 world 100m champion, who has suffered a few injury-ravaged seasons, qualified for his first global 100m final since winning silver behind Bolt at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Season’s best were recorded by both France’s Christophe Lemaitre (10.07) and Su Bingtian (10.08) of China in third and fourth, but both miss out on the medal race.

In the opening semi-final, Jimmy Vicaut of France hit the front mid-race before storming home in 9.95.

Behind, Ben Youssef Meite of Ivory Coast trimmed 0.02 from his national record to stop the watch at 9.97 and become the second man from his nation to reach an Olympic final – the first being Gaoussou Kone, who finished equal fifth at the 1964 Olympics.

World University Games champion Akani Simbine also qualified for the final from this race as the fastest non-automatic qualifier with a 9.98 clocking in third place to become the first South African to reach an Olympic 100m final since 1932. 

Turkey’s Jak Ali Harvey took fourth in 10.03 but will not play any part in the final.

Steve Landells for the IAAF