Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers in the 200m semi-final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images / AFP) © Copyright
Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Report: women's 200m semi-finals – Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers’ bid to scale the top of the podium and emulate her legendary countrywoman Fanny Blankers-Koen as an Olympic women’s 200m winner looks a distinct possibility following Tuesday’s semi-finals.

The world champion headed the qualifiers with a superlative demonstration of sprinting, recording 21.96 to post the second-fastest time in the world this year and lay down a clear statement of intent.

Schippers lined up in a loaded first semi-final containing three of the first five women home in the final at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.

European champion Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain ran the quickest bend, out in lane seven, and held a clear advantage leading into the home straight but on her inside Schippers, in lane three, and Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson in lane four quickly came to the fore.

With 70 metres remaining, the tall Dutch athlete assumed control and maintained her lead to power clear and win by 0.17 from Thompson, the world silver medallist, who set a season’s best.

USA’s Deajah Stevens finished impressively to take third in 22.38 with the fading Asher-Smith having to settle for fourth in 22.49. Both were rewarded with a place in the final on time while Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, the 2013 world bronze medallist, was eliminated after finishing fifth in 22.69.

In the second semi-final, Marie-Josee Ta Lou continued her impressive Games by trimming 0.03 from her PB set in the earlier first round to win in 22.28.

The Ivorian, who placed fourth in the 100m here in Rio, finished 0.14 clear of Ivet-Lalova Collio, who secured the second automatic place. It was a great achievement by the 32-year-old Bulgarian, who last qualified for an Olympic 200m final 12 years ago at the 2004 Olympics.

Semoy Hackett of Trinidad and Tobago, running blind in the outside lane, was prominent around the bend but entering the home straight the diminutive Ta Lou came to the fore. Lalova-Collio then emerged with a strong run over the final 50 metres to finish a clear second.

Australia’s Ella Nelson finished with a noteworthy dash to trim 0.03 from her lifetime best to clinch third in 22.50 with USA’s Jenna Prandini a further 0.05 back in fourth. However, neither make the cut for the final on time.

The third and last semi-final followed form as USA’s Olympic 100m silver medallist Tori Bowie took the victory from Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago.

Bowie ran 22.13 to lay down a marker that she is capable of adding a second medal here in Brazil. Ahye also produced an outstanding piece of sprinting to take second in 22.25 and cut 0.08 from her own national record.

Simone Facey of Jamaica finished at an eye-catching rate of knots to take third in 22.57 but this was not enough to elevate her to the final. The early race leader Murielle Ahoure faded in the latter stages and could not join her compatriot Ta Lou in the final, posting a time of 22.59 in fourth place.

Steve Landells for the IAAF