London: American Ryan Bailey ran the fastest ever first-round qualifying time in the Olympic men`s 100m today as the main US and Jamaican favourites all cruised through their heats.
Defending champion Usain Bolt clocked 10.09sec in his heat for the blue riband event of the London Games, positively pedestrian compared to the 9.88sec run by Bailey, a time which matched the American`s personal best.
"I just wanted to get out there and run my heat," said 23-year-old Bailey. "I knew that if I stayed healthy I`d be okay. It was surprisingly easy.
"There`s no pressure on me whatsoever. I really focus on myself and I`m not aware of anyone else."
Bolt`s Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake, the current world champion, timed 10sec dead after turning on the gas in his drive phase and coasting home.
Asafa Powell, the third member of the formidable Jamaican team, won his heat in 10.04sec ahead of teenage British hope Adam Gemili (10.11), with Londoner Dwain Chambers also qualifying as heat winner in 10.02.
Bailey`s better known peers on the US team also cruised to wins, with 2004 Olympic champion Gatlin sprinting to victory in 9.97sec and immediately calling the track "super fast".
"It was another good day at the office," said Gatlin, who has served a four-year doping ban. "I just wanted to go out there and give the spectators a good show. You feel the magic out there."
Tyson Gay, the world double sprint champion from Osaka in 2007, came through the line in 10.08sec.
"I felt pretty good, a good run," said Gay. "I did what I needed to do. I think I did about 75 percent. I`m now going to have a massage, see my family and rest up."
One notable absentee from the start list was Kim Collins, the 36-year-old St Kitts and Nevis sprinter who claimed a shock bronze at last year`s worlds in Daegu, South Korea.
The semi-finals and finals of the 100m are scheduled for Sunday evening`s session at the Olympic Stadium.