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Olympic Games 2008: Usain Bolt eases into 200m quarter-finals; Liu Xiang out of the Olympic with an injury

17 August 2008

By Lorraine Cummings

Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica started his sprint double hunt when cruised into the quarter-final round of the men's 200m after finishing second in his heat in an effortless 20.64.

Sadly for the hosts though defending Olympic 110m hurdles champion Xiang Liu, who is caring for an injury was unable to defend his title -- pulling out after the first step in his heat with an Achilles injury.

With pure love for his nation he made a respective appearance, but was clearly unfit to run. The stadium is left in silence as their hero brace himself for what is to come.

Meanwhile, looking back at the men's 200m dashes Trinidad and Tobago's Rondell Sorrillo won the heat involving Bolt in 20.58 after running a swift corner.

Also going through to the next round was defending champion Shawn Crawford of USA who got things going with a heat one winning time of 20.61.

His countrymen Walter Dix, the 100m bronze medallist and World Championships bronze medallist Wallace Spearmon both looked impressive in their heats.

Dix posted 20.77 easily for second place behind Russian Roman Smirnov (20.76), Spearmon posted 20.46 for first place in his heat.

The fastest of the qualifiers was Zimbabwe's Brian Dzingai, the winner of heat two with 20.25.

Other heat winners were Aaron Armstrong (TRI 20.57), Obinna Metu (NGR 20.62) and Marlon Devonish (GBR 20.49).

In other early action in the morning session, defending champion Jeremy Wariner and his American compatriot, Lashawn Merritt both advanced in the men's 400m.

Wariner won his race comfortably in 45.23, while Merritt went a bit fast, yet still looking easy, at 44.96.

"No surprise. He's ready. I'm ready. Time to go,'' Merritt said. "We're here. It's the Olympic Games. It's time for a showdown - a throwdown.''

Running the fastest time of the round was Bahamian two-time world fourth place finisher Chris Brown, who clocked 44.79 to win heat two.

Great Britain's Martyn Rooney and Andrew Steele looked good in their heat as they both came away with wins. Rooney clocked 45.00 to win his race, while Steele ran a personal best of 44.94 in his race.

In early rounds of the men's 110m Hurdles World record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba stopped the clock at an easy 13.39sec to win his heat. Unfortunately for USA, Terrence Trammell, a strong medal favourite fell out after the first flight of hurdles with an injury.

His teammate David Oliver, however, made it through in 13.30.

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