Usain Bolt took the first steps towards in his triple title defence campaign on 13 August, as he eased through his 100m heat. And not surprisingly fans in Rio turned out in force to see the number one star of world athletics in action.
\Even though he was only in the preliminary stages of his first event, the Jamaican superstar still managed to become the headline act on Day 2 of the athletics programme.
Big-screen glimpses of him on the warm-up track brought roars of appreciation from the crowd in the Olympic Stadium, and when the Jamaican entered the arena and clapped the fans responded with a throaty roar of appreciation.
Bolt looked a little tight warming up, with possibly a barely perceptible limp, and he was slow out of the blocks, as he often is.
Into his running, though, he eased through to win the seventh of eight heats in 10.07 seconds. “It wasn’t the best start, I feel kind of sluggish,” he reflected after his heat. “I’m feeling good, my leg is ok and I’ve got the first one out of the way so I’m happy about that. Now it’s all about execution and getting it right.”
And while the Jamaican is hot favourite to retain his crown, he saw enough on the first day of competition to indicate that he will be put under pressure from several of his rivals. “A lot of guys are running fast, so it’s going to be some stacked semi-finals,” he predicted.
Leading the charge to challenge Bolt will be the USA’s Justin Gatlin, who posted the fastest qualifying time of the eight heats, 10.01 seconds.
FOLLOW NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS ON FACEBOOK @ New Africa Business News.com