Usain Bolt set up another duel with Justin Gatlin after breezing into the 200 metres final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Gatlin, who has served two drugs bans, will be out for revenge after getting pipped on the line in the 100 metres final on Sunday.
The American qualified from heat two in 19.87 seconds ahead of Panama’s Alonso Edward, who is also anticipated to be in the medal hunt come Thursday’s final.
“For me, my 200 is my best event,” Bolt said. “I live for this, so I’m looking forward to it. I know I’m going to do well.”
“Bit tired, as expected,” added the world record holder said.
“Just trying to get as much rest as possible and trying to get through these rounds. Right now I’m feeling okay. I didn’t run a hard corner. I ran maybe 90 percent.”
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) August 26, 2015
Final de 200: mañana 14.55 horas 19.87 Gatlin 19.95 Bolt 20.01 Jobodwana 20.02 Edward 20.05 Ogunode 20.10 Guliyev 20.14 Hughes 20.19 Ashmead
— Martí Perarnau (@martiperarnau) August 26, 2015
Such was their dominance, there was even time for the duo to share a smile across the finish line as they eased down in the home straight to take the two automatic qualifying spots.
Hughes came through to win in 20.14s, with Jamaica’s Warren Weir a surprise casualty as he finished seventh. Wier’s compatriot Nickel Ashmeade (20.19s) came second.
Qatar’s Femi Ogunode (20.05s) ran a national record to earn a fastest loser spot, with Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev (20.10s) taking the other to complete the eight-man field for the final.