mercoledì 8 agosto 2012

DAY6...THE FINALS..by RENATO CANOVA

PREVIEWS  DAY  6  :  FINALS
200m Women
After watching the semifinals, I think the possibility of Gold belongs only to ALLISON FELIX and VERONICA CAMPBELL-BROWN.  They are the two real specialists, winning everything during the last 8 years.
VERONICA CAMPBELL, born 10 15th May 1982, short but compact (163 x 61 kg), is able to run with very high frequency, and has a very high specific endurance.  Also if can be a fast starter (she’s the current World Indoor Champion of 60m indoor in 2012), and her morphology seems more indicated for the short sprint than for 200m, she is a really specialist of the double distance.  Veronica won the event in the last 2 Olympics (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008), and won also World Championships in 2011.  When she didn’t win, was 2nd (WCh 2007 and 2009), behind ALLISON FELIX.  In the semifinal she didn’t push, controlling her effort during the last 50m after a good turn. Her bronze medal in 100m with 10”81 can demonstrate she is in top shape at the moment.
However , ALLISON FELIX impressed more than Veronica.  Younger, taller and less compact than the Jamaican (she is born on 18th Nov 1985, and his 168 x 57 kg), Allison had a last furlong in her semi totally relaxed, and I think can better her PB of 21”69, run winning the Olympic Trials in Eugene.
Also Allison, this year faster than ever, but in the past one of the best specialist of 400m too, has a great palmaree in the event : 3 times World Champion (2005 / 2007 / 2009) with the silver medal in 2011, she was always 2nd behind Veronica in Olympics 2004 and 2008.
Big fight for the bronze medal between two sprintesr (Carmelita Jeter and Shelly-Ann Fraser) and the Olympic Champion of 400m (Sanya Richards).
CARMELITA JETER is already old (born on 24th Nov 1979) and is a specialist of great muscle power.  She never ran the event too seriously, and only this year changed a little her preparation, in order to increase the specific endurance important for the double distance.  Without too specific preparation, in 2011 she won the silver medal in WCh, defeating Allison that wasn’t in good shape.  Her PB is 22”11, run during the Olympic Trials of Eugene, when was 2nd behind Allison Felix.  In her semifinal, she was very controlled, and is clear she’s ready for running under 22”.
The same impression of ease was given, during their semifinals, by SHELLY-ANN FRASER and SANYA RICHARDS.  The Jamaican, born on 27th Dec 1986, already double Olympic Champion for the short distance of 100m, using a very high frequency, was able to float till the end without showing tireness.
SANYA RICHARDS, already Olympic Champion for 400m, was also very easy, but the impression is that she has less room of improvement in the event.
In my opinion, Jeter and Fraser can have a very fast turn, trying to push hard from the start for winning a medal in an event they don’t know very well, while Richards can be more controlled, waiting to use the final 50m for eventually overtake who “dies” for a wrong distribution.
My percentage :  Felix 50%, Campbell 40%, Jeter, Fraser and Richards for the remaining 10%.
Out of the medal, but interesting because is a new athlete for the distance, is MURIELLE AHOURE.  Born in Ivory Coast on 23rd Aug 1987, this year exploded at top level, and probably can be able to run around 22”20, being very aggressive in her approach with fatigue and mental pressure.

400m HS Women
If we have to look at the semifinals, we need to give the role of favorite to the Russian NATALYA ANTYUKH. Born on 26th Aug 1981, with perfect structure for the event (175 x 64 kg), she won the bronze medal in Daegu (Wch 2011), after a career spent in the event without barriers.  Natalya was one of the top specialists of 400m (PB of 49”85 in 2004), but was able to improve her PB in 200m in the current season with 22”73, and her shape seems to be the best ever.  In the semifinal, she ran the best time till now (53”33) showing full control and finishing realxed.  She is absolutely able to run faster than her PB of 52”92, obtained winning European Championships in Barcelona in 2010.
However, the history of big championships speaks in favor of LASHINDA DEMUS.  The athlete from US, born on 10th March 1983, more compact than Antyukh (170 x 57 kg), is a terrible fighter when there is the full focus in winning medals.  After running, only 16, in 57”04 (1999), Lashinda won the World Junior Championships 2002 in Kingston, with the World Junior Record of 54”70.  In 2005 and 2009 won the silver medal in WCh, and finally in Daegu 2011 became World Champion in the event.  Lashinda is very aggressive, and normally attacks the race at very high speed, trying to create a gap during the first 300m. She can do this having a good technique (her PB in 100 hs is 12”96 in 2011), and also works for increasing her specific endurance (this year she started the season with 2’07”49 in 800m). Till now, she was able running 4 times under 53”, with a PB of 52”47 winning in Daegu, fact showing she is able to peak reaching the best shape for the top competitions.
Other two athletes can look at the medals : ZUZANA HEJNOVA of Czech Republic, and KALIESE SPENCER of Jamaica.
HEJNOVA (born on 19th Dec 1986), very similar to Demus as morphology (170 x 54 kg), comes from 100m HS, where has a PB of 13”36 in 2011.  She was already finalist in Beijing 2008, but now is very much stronger.  Last year she ran in 53”29, but this year seems able to improve this time.  She usually is able to finish very fast, having a good endurance, that tries to better working in this direction during the indoor season (she ran 800m in 2’07”99 in the indoor season 2012)
Last, but not least, KALIESE SPENCER.  The youngest of the group (6th May 1987) and the tallest (178 x 59 kg), Kaliese was the World Junior Champion in 2006, and already for two times was 4th in WCh (2009 and 2011).  She is fast (50”55 in 2008) and resistant (2’03”01 in 2011), but her technique in overtaking the hurdles is not the best, since many times goes with too much rotation of the hips, losing her balance at the moment of landing.  However, she has a PB of 52”79 in 2011.  But during the semifinals she never seemed in a shape comparable with last year.
Percentages  :  Antyukh and Demus 40%, Hejnova 15%, Spencer 5%

LONG JUMP Women
In this event we have one clear favorite : BRITNEY REESE from US, the “eater” of everything in the last 4 years : twice World Champion (2009 and 2011), twice World Indoor Champion (2010 and 2012) and winner of Olympic Trials 2012.  Also if, looking at her results, Britney seems to be an athlete very regular, she has the particulary to do a lot of faults, and sometimes seems completely out of the final or out of the medals.
However, with only one attempt till now was able to solve the situation.  One of her best qualities is to have big confidence in her talent, not becoming anxious in case of faults.  Also during the qualifications, she had the first tow jumps not valid, but was able to remain very relaxed, jumping her last attempt without any risk.   Britney, born on 9th Sep 1986, very explosive (170 x 61 kg) at the take-off, has a very simple technique, without trying anything in the flying phase.  Her PB is 7.23 winning World Indoor this year, and her 2nd performance is 7.15 winning Olympic Trials.  This fact explains she is stimulated, under the nervous point of view, to do her best when the goal is very high. Till now, she finished 10 competitions over 7 meters.
She is the logic favorite, ma other athletes are ready for jumping 7 meters or more :
JENNY DE LOACH (born on 12th Oct 1985), who is the only top class specialist to use two and half steps in the flying phase, able to improve very much in the last two years.  Sixth in Daegu 2011, she won the silver medal in WCh indoor this year, and for the first time jumped over 7 meters, with a windy 7.15 during Trials, when she had also a legal 7.03.  Jenny is fast (11”45 in 100m) and well coordinated (13”27 in 100 HS), and jumped 8 times over 6.80.
SHARA PROCTOR, the youngest of the field (born on 16th Sep 1988), in great improvement as the most part of Britons in this Olympic year.  She was 6th in Daegu, and this winter won her first medal (bronze) during the WCh indoor, behind the two athletes of US.  Her PB is 6.95, but she was very sure in the qualifications, with the best mark of 6.83.
KAREN MELIS MEY, born on 31st May 1984, was South African till 2008, and is still the National Record Holder of the African Country with 6.93, repeated twice (in 2007 and 2008).  From 2009, she became Turkish, and now she has the National record for this Country, too (6.87).  She seems in very good shape, and has a good regularity near 6.80.  Can reach a position in top 6.
YELENA SOKOLOVA is a Russian born on 23rd July 1986.  At good level from long time, never showed a real top class, looking at the international championships.  However, on 4th July she was able, for the first time, to overtake 7 meters, winning in Cheboksary the National Championships with 7.06.  I don’t think she can be a problem for the other athletes, but in the Olympic Years always we can see some surprise….