Usain Bolt stays on course for three gold medals at Rio Olympics
By Nat Hayward
Last Updated: 18/08/16 6:35pm
Usain Bolt's pursuit of three gold medals in three consecutive Olympics remains on course after the Jamaican relay team qualified for the 4x100m final.
The quartet of Jevaughn Minzie, Asafa Powell, Nickel Ashmeade and Kemar Bailey-Cole finished with a time of 37.94 seconds, but were made to work for it and could only finish second behind Japan, who set a new Asian record of 37.68 seconds on their way to victory.
Powell, who won relay golds in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2009 and 2015 World Championships, said: "I love this sport and I love to run and compete and run fast.
"I was lot more concerned about the start and getting the baton around. These guys are pretty excited, they wanted it so that's what gave me a bit of comfort."
Bolt himself, who won the 100m on Sunday for an unprecedented third successive time, was rested for the qualifier but can join American Frank Wykoff as the only athlete to win gold in three men's 4x100m relays should the Jamaican team be victorious on Saturday.
The sprinting superstar has also qualified for the 200m final and victory in both finals would put him on a record nine Olympic gold medals with Finland's Paavo Nurmi and American Carl Lewis.
The Jamaican team are favourites to retain gold but will face stiff competition from the Americans who qualified with a time of 37.65 seconds.
Britain's women's quartet of Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita advanced to their final after finishing second to Jamaica, who were without 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson, in 41.93s.
The USA have been handed a second chance, however. The defending champions and world record holders were initially disqualified following a botched second changeover between Allyson Felix and English Gardner, but it turned out Felix was impeded by the Brazilian team in the lane outside.
As a result, the Brazilians were disqualified and the US, after an appeal, were offered a chance to qualify on time.They will now race on their own on Thursday night, needing to better 42.70s to go through.