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Olympic park buzzes for men's 100m heats

posted 4 Aug 2012, 07:46 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 4 Aug 2012, 07:46 ]

As the eagerly anticipated 100 meters men's event begins, fans in the Olympic Park fan zone cheer for Britons and crowd favourite Usain Bolt.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (AUGUST 4, 2012) (REUTERS) - Sports fans at the Olympics finally got to see crowd favourite Usain Bolt on Saturday (August 4) in the 100 meters first round heats.

The showcase event comes to a conclusion on Sunday (August 5) with the semi-finals and final with a quick time expected on what many athletes are describing as a fast track.

Irish fan Liam was watching the first round races from the Olympic Park's fan zone.

"I'm just amazed at the speed they can run it, yeah absolutely incredible you know, just enjoying the whole thing, you know, supporting everybody, fantastic," he said.

The home crowd celebrated 18-year-old Adam Gemili's superb run, finishing just behind former record holder Asafa Powell. Dwain Chambers, back at the Olympics after a lengthy and successful legal challenge to his lifetime ban for doping, won his heat to loud cheers in the fan zone.

Only two of the sprinters ended their heats in a sub-10 second time out of seven heats. Favourites Bolt, fellow Jamaicans Yohan Blake and Powell, as well as American Tyson Gay, all slowed down at the end of their races to net a 10 second time.

Athletes traditionally preserve energy for the races that decide medals but some fans were disappointed to see relatively slow times.

"I'm not very sure why he (Bolt) doesn't try harder in the heats or anything but I'd like to see him go hard for the whole 100 meters rather than stop at 70 and jog the rest, so I'd like to see that happen," said Jake.

World record holder Bolt goes into the sprints having described himself recently as "95 percent" fit, and withdrawn from some scheduled races. This has led newspapers to question if he can produce the extraordinary performances that he did at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

His main rival is his training partner Blake, who beat him in both the 100 and 200 meters sprints at the Jamaican national trials.