Asafa Powell confirmed his intentions to win his first individual world title by running a sparkling Jamaican record of 6.44 to move up to fifth place on the all-time lists.
“I came here to run fast. I am happy with my start. I lost it for a few years but I have been working on it,” said Powell, who even had the luxury of easing off in the last 10 metres making many fans wonder what sort of time he would have posted if he had run flat out. China’s Xie Zhenye followed him home in a personal best of 6.55.
St Kitts’ Kim Collins, silver medallist at the 2003 and 2008 World Indoor Championships, made a triumphant comeback to this event with an easy 6.56 win in the first heat.
The two Caribbean sprinters were joined by the other top names, including the USA’s 2014 world indoor runner-up Marvin Bracy, 2010 world indoor runner-up Mike Rodgers and 2015 world championships bronze medallist Trayvon Bromell. They all won their respective heats with an identical 6.57.
China’s Su Bingtian, who missed the bronze medal at the 2014 World Indoors by 0.001, also made it through with his 6.64 win in heat four while Asian interest was added by Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu clocking a personal best of 6.59 behind Bracy in the last of the nine heats.
Great Britain’s 2014 European 100m champion James Desaolu won the second heat in 6.59 to lead the European challenge.
The men’s 60m, with the highest number of entrants of any event at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016, also featured the oldest and youngest athletes of the championships: 39-year old Collins and Mongolia’s 17-year old Shinebayar Damdinchimeg.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF