TOKYO - Defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and fellow Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce laid down the gauntlet to the young pretenders in the Olympic women's 200 meters on Monday, delivering emphatic performances in their semi-finals.
Thompson-Herah, seeking a second successive Olympics sprint double after bagging the 100m gold on Saturday, looked in third gear throughout but still matched her personal best of 21.66 seconds, from lane nine.
Fraser-Pryce, 200m silver medalist in 2012 and silver winner in the 100 in Tokyo, has barely run the 200 since winning the world title in 2013. After a very comfortable morning heats run she upped the effort to win the opening semi in 22.13.
World leader Gabby Thomas, whose 22.61 at the U.S. trials made her the second-fastest in history behind Florence Griffith-Joyner, also looked sharp in 22.01.
Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou, fourth in Rio, won her semi in 22.11 while Shaunae Miller-Uibo, gold medalist over the 400 in 2016, also progressed and should be in the mix.
Looking to break the U.S.-Jamaican stranglehold on the event are Namibian 18-year-olds Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma, who both reached Tuesday's final.
The duo had to make a last-minute shift to the 200m after tests of their heightened testosterone levels last month meant they were ruled ineligible to compete in distances between 400m - their preferred race - and the mile under World Athletics regulations.
Masilingi posted a personal best 22.63 in the morning and improved it to 22.40, behind Fraser-Pryce.
Mboma posted 22.11, the fastest time of the morning heats, then improved to an Under-20 world record of 21.97 in the semis.
Even though she was five meters down on Thompson-Herah, she was still the second-fastest qualifier, though she also looked to be right on the edge while the big guns had plenty in the tank.
Dafne Schippers, silver medalist in 2016, looked out of sorts in finishing sixth in her semi, while Americans Anavia Battle and Jenna Prandini, who had both been expected to challenge for a medal, also failed to make it through.
In the morning heats, Jamaica's Shericka Jackson, the 100m bronze medalist and third-fastest in the world this year over 200, failed to advance after slowing up too soon and being caught on the line to finish fourth.