World Athletics day six: Bolt and Ohuruogu bid to defend sprint crowns
Usain Bolt must drive controversial American sprinter Justin Gatlin round the bend, and the fastest men on the planet face-off again on day six of the World Athletics Championships from the Bird’s Nest in Beijing in the 200m final.
Jamaican sensation and world record holder Bolt is odds-on at 2/5 with Coral for a 10th world Gold medal ahead of Gatlin at 7/4. Anguilla-born British sprinter Zharnell Hughes may be a long shot at 150/1 for top honours, but could figure in the medal picture.
Another of Team GB’s runners, Christine Ohuruogu has a more realistic chance in the women’s 400m – an event in which she is the defending champion. Equipped with that ability to peak at the perfect time, and when it matters most, her price has been steadily shortening to retain the world crown throughout this edition of the championships.
Ohuruogu is a nifty 9/1 to grab Gold again, but the woman to beat is USA athlete Allyson Felix. Odds-on at 4/9 to be queen of one lap, Felix also has to contend with bright Bahamas sprinter Shaunae Miller at 5/2.
More medals are up for grabs in the field, with the women’s hammer and men’s triple jump coming to a conclusion. If previous form is any indicator, then Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk is the outstanding lady when it comes to this throw.
As the only woman to throw over 80m this season, or ever in fact, wonderful Wlodarczyk is overwhelmingly odds-on at 1/33 to regain the world hammer crown she won in Berlin back in 2009. Only improving French thrower Alexandra Tavernier looks like getting remotely close, but is a remote 14/1 for what would be a major upset.
The sand pit duel between 18m-plus jumpers Pedro Pablo Pichardo (odds-on at 8/11 for Gold) and Christian Taylor (evens) promises to be absorbing. Young Cuban Pichardo will want to emulate compatriot Yarisley Silva’s success in the women’s pole vault, while Taylor could kickstart a belated surge from the USA by getting a major medal.
Middle-distance runner Asbel Kiprop could continue a sensational championships for Kenya when he begins his bid for a third consecutive men’s 1500m title with the heats. Odds-on at 5/6 to get it, compatriot Silas Kiplagat (4/1), Taoufik Makhloufi (also 4/1) of Algeria and Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman (6/1) will push him hard.
Women’s 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba, meanwhile, looks do double up in the 5000m for Ethiopia, and has a heat to negotiate before gunning for a second Gold at these championships. Qualification also starts in the men’s discus and high jump for ladies.
Robert Harting is unable to defend his discus crown through injury, so that might finally open the door to Poland’s Piotr Malachowski to better successive Silver medals, and he’s firmly odds-on at 4/9 to be on top of the podium.
Anna Chicherova of Russia looks to regain the high jump title, as compatriot Svetlana Shkolina isn’t involved this time. With Croatia’s two-time former world champ Blanka Vlasic (12/1) not in her best shape, there’s just indoor champ Maria Kuchina to contend with. Chicherova is thus 5/6 to match the Balkans native’s achievement.
Team GB representative Shara Proctor (6/1 for Gold) must qualify for the ladies’ long jump final and has USA duo Tianna Bartoletta (evens) and Brittney Reese (3/1), plus Commonwealth foe Christabel Nettey of Canada (also 6/1), for company. Blessing Okagbare’s absence from this competition could be what the Nigerian’s name suggests for British medal hopes.
On the track, there are sprint hurdles events at different stages to look forward to. The women start their 100m heats over the obstacles, and Sharika Nelvis is 6/5 to pip US teammates Dawn Harper-Nelson (5/2), Kendra Harrison (9/2) and defending champion Brianna Rollins (5/1) to top spot. Expect America to dominate this one, leaving Team GB’s Tiffany Porter out of the picture at 12/1.
It could be a similar story for the men, who are at the 110m hurdles semi-finals stage. David Oliver has been shortened to 8/15 now to defend his title, though former champ Aries Merritt stays at 11/1. Jamaica’s main chance here remains Omar McLeod (5/1) and watch out for Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (7/1).
Speaking of semis, the women go on the flat over 800m and 200m. Eunice Jepkoech Sum of Kenya remains the one to beat round two laps at 1/3, while Dutchwoman and 100m Silver medallist Dafne Schippers has been shortened to 2/7 for Gold over double that distance. Elanie Thompson (4/1) and Dina Asher-Smith (12/1) carry Jamaican and British medal prospects in the sprint.
Coral’s top tip: Ohuruogu can never be counted out, and a nifty 9/1 price for yet another shock Gold is well worth a cheeky fiver.