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Bolt in 200m semis

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Usain Bolt stepped up his quest for a third straight Olympic sprint sweep on Tuesday as Brazilian heroine Marta was left in tears by a bitter football defeat.

Brazil, whose captain Marta is considered the world’s best player, slumped to defeat by Sweden on penalties in the semi-finals of the women’s tournament.

Bolt, who easily won the 100m title on Sunday, eased into the 200m semi-finals as he coasted home in 20.28sec, easing up long before the line.

Bolt said a relatively long rest before the semifinals and final meant he would “have enough energy left to definitely try’’ to beat his 2009 world record of 19.19sec.

American rivals Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt also qualified for Wednesday’s semifinals, with the final on Thursday.

In the men’s triple jump, America’s Christian Taylor set a season’s best of 17.86 metres with his first leap, good enough to beat compatriot Will Claye in a repeat of their one-two finish in London four years ago.

Sandra Perkovic of Croatia also won a second straight discus with a mighty 69.21m, easily beating France’s Melina Robert Michon (66.73m) and world champion Denia Caballero of Cuba (65.34).

Long-jumper Darya Klishina, the only Russian allowed into the track and field, starts her competition late Tuesday.

The 25-year-old had to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overcome a late suspension imposed by the IAAF over doping suspicions.