Usain Bolt in the 100m heats at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)
World junior record-holder Trayvon Bromell ran the fastest legal time in the first round of the 100m, winning the fourth heat impressively in 9.91.
Bromell holds the world junior record at 9.97 and ran 9.84 this year 16 days before his 20th birthday. Saturday night’s run in the Bird’s Nest was also the fastest in the first round of a World Championships since the adoption of the system by which the qualified sprinters were exempted from the preliminary round.
This year’s world leader Justin Gatlin actually had the fastest time on the clock but his 9.83 in the sixth round was assisted by a wind of 2.1m/s.
Having his first 100m race in the Bird’s Nest since he won the 2008 Olympic Games final in a world record of 9.69, Usain Bolt won the seventh and final heat of the round in 9.96.
The round began with Asafa Powell taking the first heat in 9.95, almost a clear metre ahead of China’s Su Bingtian. China’s only sub-10 man qualified for the semi-finals with a performance of 10.03.
Akani Simbine of South Africa took the remaining automatic qualifying place in third with 10.09.
South Africa boasts a rising group of male sprinters, but the Republic’s luck ran out in the second heat when Anaso Jobodwana was disqualified for a false start.
The heat was won by 2007 world champion Tyson Gay in 10.11 from Nickel Ashmeade, 10.19, and Christophe Lemaitre. Run into a -1.4m/s headwind, this was the slowest of the seven heats and the only one won in a time slower than 10 seconds.
Qatar’s Femi Ogunode won the third heat in 9.99, edging out Ramon Gittens of Barbados (10.02) and Ben Youssef Meite of Ivory Coast (10.05). Britain’s Richard Kilty also advanced from this heat as a fastest non-automatic qualifier, finishing fourth in 10.12.
The fourth heat was all Bromell, the US sprinter more than a metre clear of Chijindu Ujah of Great Britain (10.05) and Julian Reus of Germany (10.14).
Jimmy Vicaut, the European record-holder, was close to Bromell’s time in winning heat five in 9.92 from Canada’s dual NCAA sprint champion Andre De Grasse (9.99) and Jak Ali Harvey of Turkey (10.04). European champion James Dasaolu finished fourth in 10.13 and failed to advance.
Gatlin’s 9.83 put him two metres clear of Canada’s Aaron Brown and South Africa’s Henrich Bruintjes in the second-last heat. Hassan Taftian of Iran also got through as a non-automatic qualifier with 10.10 in fourth place, equalling his best legal time.
Then it was down to Bolt, who for the third time in as many races faced off with Mike Rodgers of the US. Bolt’s first 30 metres was better than it has been this season and he appeared to have plenty in hand as he eased to the line ahead of Rodgers, 9.96 to 9.97.
Churandy Martina of the Netherlands took third place in 10.06 with Levi Cadogan of Barbados also advancing in fourth place with 10.12.
Len Johnson for the IAAF