KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell cruised through their 100 metres quarter-final heats with ease at the Jamaican Olympic trials on Thursday, to leave sprinting’s big three on course for a tantalizing final.
There was nothing electrifying about any of their performances with no one dipping under 10 seconds on a hot, muggy night at the National Stadium.
Triple Olympic champion and 100m world record holder Bolt was nonchalant as he settled into his blocks, pointed to the sky then coasted home first unchallenged in an ordinary 10.06.
The only thing flashy about Bolt’s performance was his lime green spikes as he barely worked up a decent sweat putting a bigger effort into later out-running the media.
Blake, the 100m world champion, was little more inspired clocking 10 flat to take his heat while Powell, the reigning Jamaican 100m champion and former-world record holder, eased up at the line to finish second behind Nesta Carter in the same time of 10.19.
Michael Frater topped the fourth heat with 10.09.
Blake and Bolt had little comment about their efforts. Bolt changing quickly, pulling a white towel over his head and escaping the stadium without acknowledging the crowd or media.
Blake was no more forthcoming, saying only “not now, later” as he followed Bolt to the exit.
Powell, who has forced himself into the Bolt-Blake showdown, was more willing to discuss his performance while looking ahead to Friday’s semi-finals and final.
”It’s a heat so I just wanted to take it quite easy, tomorrow is the semi-finals so I‘m saving it,“ said Powell. ”I wasn’t really working on anything, I just wanted to start easy and finish easy.
“Tomorrow it is going to be very hot, I‘m just going to come out hot.”
If all goes as expected, Friday’s final will mark the first race featuring Bolt and Blake since the training partners met at last year’s world championships when Blake claimed the crown after Bolt was disqualified from the final for a false start.
Despite failing to deliver any real drama or excitement, the men’s 100m still overshadowed everything else on the opening day of the four-day meeting that has attracted the international media because of the Bolt-Blake showdown.
Much more will be expected out of Friday’s final which many are looking at for a hint of what they might see at the London Olympics where Jamaican sprinters are getting top billing.
In other events, Novlene Williams-Mills, who beat London 400m favourite Sanya Richards earlier this season on the same track, confirmed her good form home winning her heat in 52.18.
Earlier on a blistering hot day, Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion Melanie Walker and Danny McFarlane, silver medalist in the same event at the 2004 Athens Summer Games, made smooth passage into Friday’s finals.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford