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No trouble with the gun this time as Usain Bolt coasts into 200-meter final at worlds
DAEGU, South Korea (AP) ' There was no false start and plenty of showboating this time as Usain Bolt breezed into the 200-meter final at the world championships Friday.
After jumping the gun in the 100 final on Sunday, the Jamaican had the second-slowest start of the 22 semifinalists but used his acceleration through the bend and powered down the finishing straight to show he was ready to defend his title on Saturday.
Bolt glanced to his left and right and kept looking up at the giant stadium screen. When he saw he was on his own, he turned off the power and trotted across the line before thrilling the fans with the slowest of "Lightning Bolt" moves.
"I'm feeling all right," Bolt said. "Expect always the best from me. I always go out there and do my best."
Overall, he was second to Christophe Lemaitre of France, and also saw rivals Walter Dix of the United States and Jamaican teammate Nickel Ashmeade advance.
Ahead of the semifinals, he rattled off his usual antics in quick succession, from the slicking of hair to the body shaking and pistol firing. Once the racers were ready to go, he put his finger to his lips to hush the shrieking crowd.
Another golden triple is out of his grasp, but defending his 200 title is important enough.
When it was all over, his relief was such that he even threw one shoe right up into the upper deck of Daegu Stadium, where hundreds of young fans screamed out for him.
Bolt can still get a double if he wins the 200 and Jamaica also wins the sprint relay on Sunday. Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya already got hers by winning the 5,000 to add to her 10,000 title last Sunday.
It was the fourth 1-2 finish for Kenya as the East African country continued to dominate middle and long-distance running.
With a bib number of 1111, American long jumper Dwight Phillips obliged, winning his fourth world title since 2003. With a leap of 27 feet, 8 3/4, he beat Mitchell Watt of Australia and Ngonidzashe Makusha of Zimbabwe.
During a busy night with six finals, David Storl of Germany broke an American stranglehold in the shot put with a toss of 71 feet, 5 inches, beating Dylan Armstrong of Canada and Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus. United States shot putters were shut out of the medals for the first time in two decades.
Maria Abakumova of Russia flirted with the world record in the javelin but had to settle with a championship-record throw of 236-2 to win the javelin. World-record holder Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic took silver and Sunette Viljoen of South Africa earned bronze.
South Africa was going for more medals in the 4x400 relay later Friday, but sidelined double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius. He was surprisingly left off the South African 4x400 relay team for the final after running the leadoff leg that got his team into Friday's race with a national record.
"Haven't Been included in the Final for the SA Mens 4x400m. Pretty Guttered," Pistorius wrote in a Twitter message.
Pistorius had nothing left to show at the championships after the South African team decided to go with L.J. van Zyl, who won bronze in the 400-meter hurdles, in the relay race.
"It was a big surprise to us. It is a disappointment, needless to say, for Oscar," his manager, Peet van Zyl, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He ran a good leg."
After making a breakthrough for Paralympic athletes by reaching the semifinals of the 400 early this week, the "Blade Runner" ran a strong opening leg on the tough inside lane Thursday to help South Africa to a third-place finish in its heat and a South African record.
"Gods blessed me! Semifinals in the 400m and a National Record in the 4x400m semi!Thank u all!x," Pistorius wrote on Twitter.
Another South African, defending 800 champion Caster Semenya, put a troubled season behind her with a powerful last lap to become the top qualifier for Sunday's final, ahead of the year's best performer, Mariya Savinova of Russia.
A gender controversy caused her to miss last season, but Semenya came back strong in Daegu. She ran perhaps the best race of her season in 1:58.07 to make her a medal contender while many thought she would fail to make the final.
In the women's 4x400 relay, the United States easily qualified for the final even with its two best runners, Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross, sitting out the heat. Russia was even more impressive with a world leading 3:20.94. Jamaica and Britain also made it through easily.