April 21, 2021

Rio Olympics 2016: Usain Bolt reaches men’s 200m final but Justin Gatlin out

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_90827954_boltFrom BBC

Usain Bolt ran his fastest time of the season to win his Olympic 200m semi-final in 19.78 seconds as Justin Gatlin missed out on a place in the final.

Jamaica’s Bolt has already won the 100m and is now aiming for an eighth Olympic gold by retaining his 200m title.

But American Gatlin, who won silver behind Bolt in the 100m final, only finished third in his semi-final.

Britain’s Adam Gemili reached Thursday’s final (02:30 BST, Friday) as one of two fastest losers.

Gatlin, banned twice for doping offences, clocked 20.13 and failed to progress along with another big name – Yohan Blake.

The Jamaican, who won silver behind Bolt in London four years ago, has been hampered by injury over the past couple of years and faded to finish sixth in 20.37 seconds.

‘Lazy’ Bolt eases into final

Bolt, 29, has won all seven of his previous Olympic finals, claiming gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Here, the 200m world record holder was laughing as he crossed the line just two hundredths of a second ahead of Canada’s Andre de Grasse.

Bolt’s previous best this year was 19.89 at the London Anniversary Games.

“Andre was supposed to slow down. He didn’t!” he said.

“I said: ‘What are you doing it is the semis?’ He said he had to push me.

“I was a bit lazy, I don’t know why, but I executed it.”

Gemili, 22, was third in 20.08, with his place in the final confirmed following the third semi-final.

His team-mate Danny Talbot clocked a personal best 20.25, but it was not enough to go through, the same time as Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake,

The top two in each semi-final qualified automatically, along with the two fastest losers.

Gatlin falls short again

Gatlin, 34, is a divisive figure in athletics.

His first drugs ban in 2001 was reduced from two years to one after he proved the amphetamines he was taking were for an attention deficit disorder.

He then tested positive for testosterone in 2006, a year after winning the 100m and 200m double at the World Championships.

The American served a four-year ban that was twice reduced, first from a lifetime then from eight years.

Gatlin returned to the track in 2010, claiming Olympic bronze at London 2012 and losing to Bolt in the 2015 World Championships.

But, after missing out on 100m gold on Sunday, he fell short in the 200m after appearing to lose focus when he glanced across the track after 60 metres.

Gatlin, who ran 19.75 last month – the second fastest time of the year, said afterwards he had been hampered by an ankle injury.

“I’m happy to still be here for the relays,” he said. “My ankle is giving me a lot of problems. I can’t run properly and I had a tight turn in lane three.”

Meanwhile, Gatlin’s team-mate Ashton Eaton, 28, is leading the men’s decathlon at the halfway stage.

America’s reigning Olympic and world champion has earned 4621 points after the first five events, ahead of Germany’s Kai Kazmirek (4500) and Canada’s world silver medallist Damian Warner (4489).

Analysis

Michael Johnson, four-time Olympic gold medallist on BBC One:

“Adam Gemili got really tight at the end – his shoulders were up high and that makes it really tough.

“An interesting run by Usain Bolt, he got out fast and quick and let off a bit. De Grasse decided he was going to have a bit of fun and go and get him.

“Gatlin made a bit of a mistake. He relaxed. He didn’t realise the others were upon him and then he tried to get back into it but you can’t do that with the class of this field.

“That was a huge mistake and he will know it. A very strange race.”

IMAGE: De Grasse and Bolt enjoyed a moment of fun as they crossed the line

For more on this story go to: http://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/37114211

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