Usain Bolt

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 13 (IANS) Two-time reigning champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica won his qualifying heat in the men’s 100 metres easily at the Rio Olympics here on Saturday.

He won Heat 7 at 10.07 seconds, pulling in front at the midpoint of the race and breezing into Sunday’s semi-finals.

His main rival American Justin Gatlin also qualified for the semi-finals with the overall best time in the heats, clocking 10.01 seconds.

Ben Youssef Meite from Cote d’Ivoire was next with a time of 10.03, followed by Canada’s Ande de Grasse with 10.04, reports Xinhua.

China’s Xie Zhenye was fifth fastest with a personal best of 10.08.

“It’ s like a soccer crowd in here,” Gatlin said. “Everyone is really excited and we’ re excited too.”

Bolt is aiming to repeat his 100m, 200m and 4x100m victories at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games.

He recovered from a hamstring injury last month by winning the 200m at the Anniversary Games in London.

The 100m semi-finals and final will be held on Sunday.