Usain Bolt awesome at evens to defend World Athletics 100m title
Usain Bolt is in the unusual position of not being favourite for the 100m ahead of the 2015 IAAF World Athletics championships in Beijing.
The Bird’s Nest in China’s capital city provided Jamaican sensation Bolt with his first major medals at the 2008 Olympics, and he set world records over both sprint distances, which he later bettered 12 months on at the World Championships in Berlin, en route to double Gold.
Yet controversial American athlete Justin Gatlin is Coral’s odds-on 10/11 favourite to take the world title away from Bolt, as he is the world leader over 100m this season with a best time of 9.74 seconds.
That was right at the start of the season, though, and the outdoor athletics campaign is about peaking at major championships. Bolt’s only Diamond League outing over the straight 100m came at the London Anniversary Games where he ran 9.87. He has got more than a tenth of a second to find on former drugs cheat Gatlin.
All-time great Bolt is even-money to retain the World 100m title he regained in Moscow (2013) after being disqualified in Daegu (2011).
It’s hard to look beyond this rivalry between charismatic Bolt and the much-maligned Gatlin, but fellow controversial pair Tyson Gay (20/1) and former world record holder Asafa Powell (28/1).
Bolt’s compatriot and double World and Olympic Gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is odds-on 4/9 favourite for the women’s 100m event. She is also the reigning 200m champion, after doing the sprint double in Moscow two years ago and the fourth fastest lady of all-time.
As firm a favourite as Fraser-Pryce is after three impressive Diamond League circuit victories this season, Dutch runner Dafne Schippers caught the eye when running a national record 10.92 seconds at the London Anniversary Games.
Schippers, 13/2 to shock the Jamaican and grab Gold, needs to find almost two tenths of a second to match Fraser-Pryce’s world lead time of 10.74.
Africa’s increasing improvement in sprint events is reflected in respective odds of 9/1 for Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare and Ivorian athlete Murielle Ahoure at 16/1 to triumph. USA pair Tori Bowie (also 9/1) and English Gardner (12/1) also hold realistic medal hopes.