LONDON 2017: Yohan Blake, Rasheed Dwyer in 200m semis; Warren Weir out
Yohan Blake, the 2012 London Olympic 100 and 200-metre silver medallist, and his Jamaican teammate Rasheed Dwyer have progressed safely to the semi-finals of the men's 200 metres at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London on Monday.
The other Jamaican, Warren Weir - the 2013 world silver medallist - did not advance.
A good bend allowed Blake – who won the world 100m title six years ago after his Jamaican team-mate Usain Bolt had been disqualified - to ease down on the straight before winning the opening heat in 20.39.
Japan’s 18-year-old Abdul Hakim Sani Brown followed Blake home in 20.52, with the third automatic qualifying place going to Switzerland’s Alex Wilson in 20.54.
Dwyer (20.49) had to work hard for his spot in the second heat, finishing third for the final automatic qualifying spot in the heat.
The race was won by Trinidad and Tobago’s 23-year-old Jereem Richards, who served notice of his ambitions as he powered home in lane two to win in 20.05, the fastest qualifying time, with Kyree King of the United States a distant second in 20.41.
Weir struggled to finish fourth in heat five and his time of 20.60 wasn't good enough to qualify him for one of the fastest losers.
Zambia’s Sydney Siame produced a national record of 20.29 to win the heat ahead of Klye Greaux of Trinidad and Tobago, with Filippo Tortu of Italy taking the third qualifying place in 20.59 ahead Weir.
Meanwhile, Isaac Makwala of Botswana, Wayde van Niekerk's main competition for the 200-400 double, didn't start in the 200 metres.
Set to start in Lane seven, the blocks remained empty as the others set off in Heat 5.
The IAAF later said Makwala withdrew "due to a medical condition on the instruction of the IAAF medical delegate."
If Makwala had no medical reason to withdraw, he would have been ineligible to compete in Tuesday's 400 final.
Van Niekerk and Makwala are the top two performers over the half-lap race this season. In the absence of both Usain Bolt and 100-metre champion Justin Gatlin, the race for gold is wide open.
Makwala and Van Niekerk are still set to go head-to-head in the 400 final.
Van Niekerk eased at the line in his heat and twice looked at the hard-charging Daniel Talbot and still crossed .001 seconds ahead of the British sprinter.
Van Niekerk was smiling as he crossed the line, again showing the great form he is in at the championships. Van Niekerk also has the final of the 400 on Tuesday.
Both Van Niekerk and Talbot were timed at 20.16 seconds, but Van Niekerk finished first by the smallest margin possible.