Jamaica’s multi Olympic gold medalist and World champion Usain Bolt made his first move to inch closer to a record fourth 100 m crown by winning his first round heat at the opening day of the 2017 World Championships. Bolt recovered from a poor start to win his heat in the first round of the 100 metres in 10.07 seconds.
The Jamaican is seeking his fourth gold in the event, he has won the 100m at every world championships since 2009 apart from 2011 in Daegu when he was disqualified for a false start. It wasn't a false start on Friday, just a bad one, and Bolt said his blocks were to blame.
"That was very bad," he told reporters. "I stumbled a little bit coming out of my blocks. I'm not really a fan of these blocks. These are the worst blocks I have ever experienced. I have to get the start together as I can't keep doing this."
Asked what is wrong with the blocks, he said: "It's shaky. When I did my warm-up and pushed back, it fell back. It's just not what I'm used to. It's not as sturdy."
Bolt was given his usual rapturous welcome by the 55,000 crowd at the stadium where he completed the sprint double at the 2012 Olympics. After finally getting into his stride he forced his way through the field.
"I didn't run as smooth as I'd like to but the way I got back into the race shows I am in decent form," he said. "After the semi-finals I can say what is what." As always, his every move was greeted with adulation by fans well aware that the superstar of the sport is in his final days.
"The crowd is always wonderful," he said. "They always show me so much love and I always appreciate being here."
The fans were less pleased with former world and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, twice banned for doping offences and pipped by Bolt in the world championship final two years ago. The American was loudly booed by many in the crowd when his name was announced and again when he won his heat in 10.05. Gatlin is well used to such receptions, however, and shrugged it off.