x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Bolt back from the blues

The world champion is into the 200 metres final in Daegu, South Korea, rebounding from a false start at the 100 metres event.

DAEGU, South Korea // Usain Bolt had little trouble with the starting gun this time, recording two solid qualifying runs for Saturday's 200 metres final at the World Championships and pumping himself up with the famed "Lightning Bolt" celebration.

The defending champion put last week's debacle of a false start in the 100m final behind him.

"Back to my normal self. I'm trying to enjoy the game as much as possible," Bolt said after two dominant performances in which his slow starts gave way to powerful finishes. "I know I'm still the best, so I'm focused on it."

And if he needed any guidance in the 200m, there was Veronica Campbell-Brown, the two-time Olympic champion, fighting off the 100m champion Carmelita Jeter and the three-time defending champion Allyson Felix to clinch gold in the Jamaica-United States sprint rivalry.

The Americans still came out of Friday's rush of six finals with two gold. They lead the medal standings with nine gold.

With a bib number 1111, the American long jumper Dwight Phillips obliged, winning his fourth world title since 2003. With a leap of 8.45m, he beat Mitchell Watt of Australia and Ngonidzashe Makusha of Zimbabwe.

The American 4x400m relay team won their fourth successive gold, getting an amazing final kick from LaShawn Merritt to deny South Africa and Jamaica at the line.Even though Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter, was, surprisingly, left out of the line-up, he will still get his silver for running in the heats. Pistorius ran the lead leg that got his team into Friday's race with a national record.

After saying on Twitter that he was "Pretty Guttered" about being left out of the final team, Pistorius looked on the bright side.

"Gods blessed me! Semifinals in the 400m and a national record in the 4x400m semi! Thank u all! x," Pistorius wrote on Twitter.

Another South African, the defending 800m champion Caster Semenya, put a troubled season behind her with a powerful last lap to become the top qualifier for Sunday's final ahead of Mariya Savinova of Russia, the year's best performer.

A gender-test controversy caused her to miss last season, but Semenya came back strong in Daegu. She ran perhaps the best race of her season in 1:58.07, making her a medal contender after many thought she would not reach the final.

Bolt can still get a double if he wins the 200m and Jamaica win the sprint relay Sunday. But Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya already got hers by winning the 5,000m to add to her 10,000m title last Sunday.