Usain Bolt gets one more race after 4x100 qualification
Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin will meet in a final duel on the track after helping their teams qualify for the final of the 4x100-metre relay at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics.
The United States, with Gatlin running the second leg, won the first heat in a world leading time of 37.70 seconds.
The Americans, who debuted Mike Rodgers at these World Championships, beat Britain, 37.76, and Japan, 38.21, who also qualified. Turkey finished fourth in that heat and made the final as non-automatic qualifiers with their time of 38.44.
Trinidad and Tobago, a normally strong 4x100 team, crashed out with 38.61 seconds, as Keston Bledman, Kyle Greaux, Moriba Morain and Emmanuel Callender failed to give 200 metre bronze medallist at these championships, Jereem Richards, a chance at the final.
The other Caribbean team in the Heat, Barbados, were last in 39.19.
Then came Bolt, and the Jamaicans needed him. The team of Tyquendo Tracey, Julian Forte and Michael Campbell were trailing, even if just marginally, when Bolt got the baton on the anchor leg, but the big sprinter powered away, quickly sweeping past his rivals, even having time to look to his right before crossing in 37.95 seconds.
"The crowd was wonderful, we did what we had to do and that was qualify," Bolt told BBC Sport. "I enjoy relays more than anything.
"We'll see what happens. It's hard to be sad, it's wonderful and it's been brilliant. It's going to be outstanding, there are no words to explain how the crowd makes me feel."
France were second in 38.03, with China third in 38.20. Canada made the final as the third automatic qualifier in a time of 38.48 seconds.