Aussies chasing medals in first day of athletics
There are two gold medals to be decided on day one of the athletics and eleven Australians athletes are competing.
A qualifier for the men’s shot put will take place in the morning with the final at night (5:30am Saturday morning EST). The women’s 10,000m is a straight final during the evening session (6:15am Saturday morning).
Both these events have Australian competitors but it would be a miracle if we won a medal on day one of the athletics.
The men’s shot put seems like it will be the usual battle between the USA and Eastern Europe with a Canadian thrown into the mix.
Team USA athletes Cantwell, Hoffa and Whiting lead the 2012 rankings and are the only three men to have thrown over 22m this year. Historically, however, they tend to peak at their trials and don’t bring their best to the Olympics.
Storl from Germany won the 2011 World Championships and at only 22-years old one would imagine that he will only get better. Armstrong from Canada and Majewski from Poland look like the other athletes who will battle it out for the medals.
Dale Stevenson is the Australian athlete. Ranked 17th out of the entrants he will probably have to throw a personal best just to make the final.
My tips are Cantwell for gold, Strol for silver and Armstrong for bronze.
It feels like women’s distance running over the last few years has just been a competition between Defar and Dibaba, both from Ethiopia.
Injuries and poor form have hurt these two legends over the last few years, allowing Cheruiyot from Kenya to emerge as a double gold medalist from the 2011 World Championships.
The 10,000m at the Olympics seems like it will be a battle between Cheruiyot and Dibaba with Defar only contesting the 5,000m. Both ladies are undefeated for the year over any distance.
Season-best times are largely irrelevant as the 10,000m is rarely run on the athletics circuit.
Eloise Wellings is our Australian representative in this event and while she certainly won’t finish last, don’t be surprised if she is lapped by the medalists.
My tips are Cheruiyot for gold, Dibaba for silver and Kipyego for bronze. I expect Ethiopians and Kenyans to fill six of the first seven positions.
Other Australians in action are Melissa Breen in the first two rounds of the Women’s 100m.
You will have to check the official entry list to see if she is required to run in the preliminary round as the new format means not everyone does run in the first round.
As there are three semi-finals she is a good chance of getting through the first two rounds to be one of the fastest 24 who run on day two.
Brendan Cole and the fastest red head in the world Tristan Thomas line up in round one of the men’s 400m hurdles. Both athletes are proven big time performers and should make it through to the semi-finals.
Youcef Abdi is running in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, but he is not in the form that got him sixth place at the last Olympics. He will struggle to make it through the heats.
2009 World Champion Dani Samuels has the women’s discus qualifying. While she hasn’t thrown within 3m of her best in the last two years, she should make it through to the final on day two.
In the men’s 1500m we have Ryan Gregson and Jeff Riseley, both of whom are in much better form than they were during their disappointing performances in last year’s World Championships.
Expect both of them to make it though the heats with ease.
The main Australian interest on day one will be the men’s long jump qualifier. 2011 World Championships silver medallist Mitchell Watt will be competing alongside up-and-comer Henry Frayne.
These two men should easily make it through through to the final and Watt is the gold medal favourite.
In other events, local British hopes will have one of their stars competing today with one of the faces of the games (and the stunningly attractive) Jessica Ennis starting her gold-medal bid in the women’s Heptathlon.
She will have her work cut out for her with 2011 World Champion Russian athlete Tatyana Chernova her main competition.
Expect Ennis to be leading at the end of day one as she is better than Chernova in all four events on the first day.
My tips: Ennis for gold, Chernova for silver and Dobrynska for bronze.