Sunday, August 05, 2012

Fredericks: Up to Bolt's rivals to perform

Four-time Olympic silver medallist Frankie Fredericks has said that it is up to Usain Bolt's 100m rivals to do something special if they wish to be crowned Olympic champion on Sunday.

Tyson Gay of the US checks his time after the men's 100m round 1 heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Reuters)
None of the medal hopes suffered any problems in progressing through Saturday morning's heats, with American Ryan Bailey setting the fastest time of 9.88, followed by compatriot Justin Gatlin with 9.97.

Bolt was only equal ninth fastest with 10.09, while his main rival for gold Yohan Blake - a fellow Jamaican and training partner - ran 10 seconds dead.

However Bolt, who false-started in the 2011 World Championship final won by Blake, seemed to ease through the final 40 metres.

"Usain Bolt is the defending Olympic champion and it is up to the others to come and take it from him," Fredericks told Eurosport.

"He will not let go of it without a fight.

"But I expect the others will come to the party - it is shaping up to be an incredible series of semi-finals."

Another Jamaican hero, Asafa Powell, and American star Tyson Gay also won their heats comfortably, while Briton Dwain Chambers - who fought for the right to compete through the courts after a drugs ban earlier in his career - was another stand-out performer in the Olympic Stadium.

The semi-finals take place around eight o'clock in the evening before the final at around 10 p.m.

"They will look to send a message in the semis whereas in the heats they look to save energy and just get through," continued Fredericks. "That is where you can win the final [in advance].

"In the semi-final you can't play games: it is a real test of what you can do. You can't afford to be negative at any point at the Olympics, but you know that in the semi-finals everyone is giving 100 per cent.

"[And] if you go through with a fast time, you get a better lane in the final.

"If you get a bad draw, you could have three or four medal contenders together, and you have to run a PB just to get to the final.

"Chambers can reach the final if he runs a PB."

Fredericks refused to predict who will be standing on top of the podium following the blue riband event of the Games.

"I can't call it after the heats, but the three Jamaicans and three Americans are the men to watch out for," he said.


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