Can Sally Pearson win gold for Australia on Day 5 of the Athletics
At 6:00am (AEST) our own Sally Pearson goes for gold in the 100m hurdles in one of four gold medals to be decided. Adding to the excitement, Usain Bolt steps back onto the track for the heats of the 200m after his amazing victory in the 100m.
The Gold Medal Events:
Men’s High Jump
Ivan Ukhov from Russia has the best height of 2012 with 2.39m (the best outdoor jump in over 10 years) and also the best PB in the field so has to go in as the favourite. However, no Olympics or Outdoor World Championships since 1999 has required a height of over 2.36m (with some as low as 2.32m) for Gold, and five men in the final have jumped that this year.
Ukov, Kynard, Grabarz and 2011 Daegu gold medallist Williams were the cleanest through the qualifying, and in a competition that is likely to be decided on countback that maters a lot.
My tips are Ukhov for gold, Grabarz to be lifted by the home crowd to silver and Williams for bronze.
Men’s Discus Throw
Men’s discus in 2012 has been dominated by two men, 2009 and 2011 World Champion Robert Harting from Germany and 2000 and 2004 Olympic Champion Virgilijus Alekna from Lithuania. Australian Ben Harradine made it through to the final with the 9th best effort in qualifying. He will be hoping to improve on his 5th place from the 2011 World Championships.
The two other Austalian men did not progress. My tips are Harting for gold, Alekna for silver and Kanter for bronze.
Women’s 100m Hurdles
This is the single event that will determine if the Australian athletics team has had a successful Olympics.
Sally Pearson goes into this event the odds on favourite and with the weight and expectations of a nation on her shoulders. Much that has been written in the press about Australia performing below expectations will be forgotten if our golden girl of the track can reign victorious.
Since winning the silver medal in Beijing in 2008, and giving one of the best post race interviews of all time, she has dominated this event. She is the current Commonwealth, World Indoor and Outdoor Champion and was awarded the IAAF 2011 Female athlete of the year. Her winning time in Daegu ranked her 4th all time with the best time since 1992.
She holds the three best times for the year and has only lost once in 2012 which may be explained by the fact that in warm up she slipped over and hit a hurdle.
Kelly Wells from the USA is being touted as the girl most likely to challenge Sally but she should also watch out for athletics most high profile virgin Lolo Jones.
The field was weakened when the gold medallist in the Heptathlon and forth fastest hurdler in 2012, Jessica Ennis, decided to withdraw and world number two Briditte Foster-Hylton hit a hurdle and did not progress through the heats.
My tips are Pearson for gold, Wells for silver and Jones for bronze. Semi finals are 4:15am Australian EST and the final at 6:00am.
Only three man have gone under 3:30 this year, and they are all from Kenya. Aside from the World Championships when El Guerrouj got his Moroccan team mate to pace-make for him, finals at major Championships are generally tactical affairs. This is where Nick Willis from New Zealand skills comes in.
Unfortunately for Australia our competitor Ryan Gregson did not perform well in the semi finals. My tips are for Kiprop to win gold and defend his Olympic title but this time by winning the race (as the winner from 2008 was later disqualified due to a positive drug test), Kiplagat for silver and Willis for bronze.
Kim Mickle and Kathryn Mitchell are in the Women’s Javelin qualifying. They come in ranked 12th and 13th in the world this year. Mickle placed 6th at last years World Championships and rumour has it threw the javelin so hard she broke a rib. Both girls have the ability to throw the automatic qualifier and should progress to the final.
Henry Frayne has his second event in these championships with qualifying in the Men’s Triple Jump. He did well to make the final in the Long Jump though qualifying may be difficult for Frayne as he hasn’t produced his best form in the triple jump overseas.
Other Events – Men’s 200m, 800m
Some of the other athletes to watch today are Usain Bolt in the heats of the 200m starting at 8:50pm Australian EST. In this event he is again up against his countryman, training partner and silver medallist from the 100m, Yohan Blake.
The heats will be no effort for those two but it will be impressive to watch them make running 20 seconds flat look easy.
David Rudisha is up in the semi finals of the 800m at 4:55am Australian EST. If you get up to watch Sally’s semi final keep watching to see one of the most fluid runners the world has ever seen.
Our Australian hope Jeff Riseley did not run to his form this year and did not progress though to the semi finals.
- 2012 London Olympics