Jamaican Nesta Carter, the fifth fastest man of all time over 100m, safely negotiated his 60m round one heat at the World Indoor Championships on Friday.
Carter, who won 100m bronze at the outdoor worlds in Moscow last year, snagged the third automatic qualifying spot in his heat won impressively in 6.53sec by unheralded Briton Richard Kilty, who was only running as a replacement for the injured James Dasaolu.
Only Jamaicans Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell, and American Tyson Gay have gone faster than Carter over 100m, but the latter has made a name for himself as a relay essential for his island nation, winning gold in the last two worlds and Olympic Games.
His individual breakthrough came two years ago in Istanbul when he bagged silver in the 60m, followed by his Moscow showing, and in an event lacking the presence of 100m heavyweights Bolt and American Justin Gatlin, Carter could shine again.
Up-and-coming American star Marvin Bracy overcame a shocking start to seal third place in his heat, one-hundredth of a second off the winning deadheat time of 6.59sec by Zambia’s Gerald Phiri and Jamaican Kimmari Roach.
“It’s my first world championships and it’s not something I’m used to,” said Bracy, who also plays as an American football wide receiver for the Florida State Seminoles out of Florida State University.
“Normally I just show up a day before a championship and run, but this is different.
“I concentrated on my preparations for the race so much that I actually wasn’t paying attention to when the gun went off, that’s why my start was so bad.
“I don’t feel much pressure, I’m just 20 so I know that even if I don’t do as well as I’m expected to, I’ve got a lot of world championships left in my career.”
Bracy’s teammate Trell Kimmons followed his lead by also finishing third behind his heat winner Bingtian Su of China (6.58).
Joining Kilty on Saturday, when the semi-finals are scheduled for 1730 GMT and final at 1957 GMT, will be veteran British sprinter Dwain Chambers.
The 35-year-old Londoner, who was caught using the designer steroid THG in 2003 and banned for two years, won 60m bronze in Istanbul, gold in Doha in 2010 and silver in Valencia two years before that.
“I just want to safely negotiate the rounds,” he said after winning his heat in 6.57sec.