CWG: Tough for Richard Thompson as Nickel Ashmeade cruises 100m heats
Glasgow: Jamaican champion Nickel Ashmeade and British tyro Adam Gemili both sailed through their heats of the men`s 100m at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday, but Richard Thompson had a wobble.
Ashmeade, part of the gold medal-winning Jamaican 4x100m relay team from the Moscow worlds last year, clocked an easy-going 10.40 seconds to win his heat at a packed Hampden Park, home to the Scotland international football side.
The weight of the Caribbean island`s expectations are resting squarely on Ashmeade`s shoulders in the absence of sprint superstar Usain Bolt, who will compete solely in the relay in Glasgow after an injury-plagued season.
Gemili, likewise, is the main English hope, and the former aspiring footballer timed an impressive 10.15sec, the fastest qualifying time for which the crowd afforded him rousing acclaim.
"I`m loving it, I`m very lucky to come to a place like this, the reception was amazing," Gemili said.
"I think I`m going to have to break 10 seconds to get a gold medal, these guys are running really fast."
Trinidad and Tobago`s Thompson, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, could only finish third in his heat.
But his time of 10.33sec behind US-born Nigerian Mark Jelks, who has served a two-year doping ban, and Warren Fraser of the Bahamas saw him qualify for Monday`s semi-finals as one of the six fastest outside the top two in each of the nine heats.
Thompson`s teammate Keston Bledman and Jamaican Kemar Bailey-Cole both clocked 10.16sec to win their respective heats, and also qualifying were Antigua`s Daniel Bailey and Jason Livermore, another Jamaican.
In the women`s 100m heats, it also wasn`t all plain sailing for Thompson`s teammate Michelle-Lee Ahye, who rebounded from a sluggish start to come in second in her heat in 11.44 behind Canadian winner Khamica Bingham.
Jamaica`s Veronica Campbell-Brown looked slick in winning in 11.29sec and she will be joined in the semi-finals by teammates Schillonie Calvert, who clocked the same time in nailing her heat, and Olympic silver medalist Kerron Stewart (11.35).
Campbell-Brown only returned to competition in February, the two-time Olympic 100m bronze medallist and former two-time Olympic 200m champion having spent 10 months on the sidelines before having a two-year ban overturned.
It was Nigerian Blessing Okagbre, who won long jump silver and 200m bronze at the 2013 world championships, who headed the qualifying times with 11.20sec.