Kingston - Former 100-metre world-record holder Asafa Powell made a strong start and showed top form Thursday in winning his opening-round heat at the Jamaican Athletics Championships.
Getting off to a bullet-like start and seizing the lead midway into the race, Powell eased down noticeably to the line to win in 9.98 seconds and qualify for Friday's semi-finals at the national stadium in Kingston.
Former IAAF world champion Yohan Blake, running only his second 100m race of the season, was well back in 10.24 seconds, the same time as Kemarley Brown.
World Championships bronze medallist Nesta Carter captured his first-round heat in 10.12 seconds while Commonwealth Games champion Kemar Bailey-Cole took his heat in a season-best 10.05 seconds.
Double sprint world-record holder and reigning world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt withdrew from the 100 earlier on Thursday, bypassing a meet he entered only at the last minute due to disappointing early season times.
Bolt gave no reason for the withdrawal but has not cracked 10 seconds for 100m or 20 seconds for 200m this season.
Bolt is next set to compete at the Diamond League meet in Paris on July 6.