By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) - Usain Bolt sent out a chilling message to his rivals that the Jamaican defending champion is fully fit and remains the man to beat in the Olympic 100 metres as he romped to victory in his semi-final in 9.87 seconds on Sunday.
All the big guns made it through for what should be a fantastic final (20.50GMT) when London's fast track could well deliver scintillating times.
There had been fears that Bolt was still struggling with a tight hamstring but he appeared lithe and loose and, easing up with 30 metres to go, looked in form to win the final later on Sunday and possibly threaten his world record of 9.58 seconds.
Bolt did not speak after his race, merely nodding when asked if everything was OK.
World champion Yohan Blake, who beat Bolt in the Jamaican trials, also looked good as he won his semi in 9.85 ahead of Tyson Gay (9.90).
American Justin Gatlin, the 2004 winner back in action after a doping ban, impressively won the first heat in 9.82 but former world record-holder Asafa Powell was only third in 9.94, making it into the final only as a fast loser despite getting a great start.
"I felt good," said Gatlin. "The track feels faster than yesterday, or either I am. Seeing those American flags out there really got me pumped up.
"I sent a signal out there. I told them to get ready for the final"
Powell, often criticised for his mental approach in the biggest races, said: "I underestimated them. I eased up too early."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)