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Usain Bolt on cruise control in 100 semi

8/28/2011

DAEGU, South Korea -- Slow out of the blocks this time,
Usain Bolt relied on his devastating acceleration Sunday to wipe
away the field halfway through and sweep into the 100-meter final
at the world championships.

Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius also had to make up for
a slow start and, pouncing on his carbon-fiber blades, ran past
several able-bodied runners to qualify for the semifinals of the
400 in a historic breakthrough for Paralympic athletes.

Bolt let his powerful long legs do the work after seeing
Jamaican teammate Michael Frater ahead of him after the starting
gun, and he eventually won the heat in 10.05 seconds. The final is
set for later Sunday.

Bolt was looking around with 20 meters to go and was soon
stroking his hair after crossing the line as the South Korean crowd
of about 35,000 cheered in awe. During Saturday's heat, he had a
perfect start and slowed down, but this time he was forced to
practice his midway speed. In a word -- awesome.

"I want to have Bolt next to me," said 2003 champion Kim
Collins, who also advanced. "He may need to run a world record
tonight."

For two years, though, Bolt has not threatened his world record
time of 9.58.

The fastest time went to Bolt's teammate, Yohan Blake, who
crossed in 9.95 seconds. Nesta Carter also went through to let
Jamaica claim almost half the lanes in the final.

Walter Dix was the lone American through, as even France won two
places with Christophe Lemaitre and Jimmy Vicaut in the final.

World indoor sprint champion Dwain Chambers was disqualified for
a false start and former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin finished
only fourth in his race and was eliminated.

With unstoppable showmanship, Bolt was dancing on the track to
the stadium's theme tune, two hours before the final. Beyond
seeking a third gold in the marquee event of a major championship,
Bolt is also looking for gold in the 200 and 4x100 relay next week.

In contrast, the ambitions of Pistorius do not reach beyond
getting into the final of the 400, but his achievement Sunday was
also outstanding.

Pistorius recovered from his traditional slow start to pounce
with power through the final bend and finishing straight to take
third place in the final heat of the event. His time of 45.39
seconds was the 14th best of all competitors.

"I have worked extremely hard to be here," Pistorius said.
"And it has been phenomenal to run."

Running in the tough outside lane, he had to count on a big move
in the second half of the race and with 50 meters to go, five
runners were still in it for the four automatic semifinal places.
Pistorius dipped at the line for his third-place finish behind
Bahamian winner Chris Brown.

Now, some suddenly see him as the direct rival he has become
and, additionally, the competitive threat.

"With him being inside the race, automatically everybody steps
up," Brown said. "No one wants to get beat by him. Me,
definitely, I don't want to get beat him.

"Everybody is going to come out and run their A-plus game."
The International Association of Athletics Federations had
banned the multiple Paralympic gold medalist from able-bodied
competition, saying the blades he wears gave him an unfair
advantage.

But in 2008, Pistorius was cleared to compete by the Court of
Arbitration for Sport -- even though he failed to qualify for that
year's Beijing Olympics and the 2009 worlds in Berlin.

Before Pistorius' thrilling run, Liu Xiang, Dayron Robles and
David Oliver made sure the most compelling final was still on track
when all three qualified for the semifinals of the 110-meter
hurdles.

Liu proved he is finally getting back to the form which earned
the 2004 Olympic and 2007 world titles by having plenty of time to
ease up at the line and still win his heat. Oliver kept his
powerful shoulders in perfect balance over the hurdles as he dashed
through a winner, too.

The final is set for Monday and should bring the three fastest
performers in history together for one of the highlights of the
nine-day championships.

Defending champion Ryan Brathwaite failed to make the
semifinals.

In the women's 400, Allyson Felix looked as comfortable as ever
to glide into the final but her duel with American teammate Sandra
Richards-Ross was almost off. While Felix won her semifinal heat,
Richards-Ross only advanced to the final with the second-best
losing time.

In the first of six finals of the day, Olympic and defending
world champion Valeriy Borchin led a 1-2 Russian finish in the
20-kilometer walk with a time of 1 hour, 19 minutes, 56 seconds.
Vladimir Kanaykin took silver, 31 seconds behind, and Luis Fernando
Lopez of Colombia was third.

The men's decathlon also reaches its climax, with defending
champion Trey Hardee at the top of the standings after nine of 10
events.

The women's long jump and discus throw are the other finals on
Sunday.