The cloud cover provided the athletes with a respite from the heat and the relative calm of the stadium made it feel like a church experience, but the sprinters were incredibly fast on the way to the semi-finals set for Saturday.
Reigning Olympic champion Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah ran 10.82 points to advance and she almost slowed down towards the finish line. She was all smiles and thumbs up after a performance that made it clear that she was not yet ready to relinquish her title.
Her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce advanced to the semi-finals as she began her quest to become the first woman to win three Olympic gold medals in the 100m with an impressive 10.84.
The 34-year-old, who won gold in Beijing and London, walked away from the sport to have a baby but arrived in Tokyo after an incredible 10.63 run and is the overwhelming favorite to compete with his compatriot Usain Bolt with a third gold in the blue ribbon event.
“Having a year off with my son having kind of rejuvenated, you know, my motivation,” Fraser-Pryce said after his run. “If you notice the heat it’s a really fast race so you just have to make sure you’re ready. “
Jamaican sprinters, including Shericka Jackson, bronze medalist in the 400m in Rio five years ago, who also qualified for the semi-finals, showed how explosive they can be as they soar. after a medal sweep on Saturday.
But Marie-Josée Ta Lou’s performance sent the message that the 32-year-old world 100m silver medalist will be a force to be reckoned with on Saturday.
“Surprise, surprise. I’m in shock actually. I know I’m ready, ”she said after her scintillating run. “I really didn’t expect to run as fast as I just did. “
“It’s awesome,” she added.
The quick times seen in the heats showed just how motivated female sprinters are, Herah said.
“Everyone wants to get involved and be a real champion,” she said after her race. “These are some of the fastest fields in the history of the event. “
Another contender is Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion, who carries her country’s hopes of a first medal in the women’s 100m since 1960. She also progressed after finishing second in her first run with a performance of 11.07 behind American Teahna Daniels. , which ran on 11.04.
Daniels and her compatriot Javianne Oliver, 26, who also progressed with fellow American Jenna Prandini, bear the burden of trying to win the United States ‘first legal gold medal since Gail Devers’ triumph in 1996.