PREVIEWS OF THE SECOND DAY
There will be 3 semifinals, with the first 4 plus the best 3 times qualified.
In the first, we have GULNARA SAMITOVA-GALKINA, World Record Holder, at her come back after having her second kid. She didn’t seem yet in shape, in the season was able running only 9’24”, but personally I think she able to approach 9’10” at the moment. I think she can go to pace during the last 3 laps, going to qualify together with MILCAH CHEMOS, the Kenyan seasonal leader, and the Ethiopian ETENESH DIRO.
In the second, we can see the Ethiopian SONIA ASSEFA, already 9’09” this year, and the Turkish GIILCAN MINGHIZ, able running 9’13”53 alone, and to win European Championships (but after that competition she never showed the same shape). We have to athletes coming back after different problems : MARTA DOMINGUEZ, having a very fast kick, already 37 years old, two competitions this year (9’24” in one, and DNF in the heat of European Championships), and the Tunisian HABIBA GHRIBI, this year 9’28”81 after a surgery, very aggressive. Together with the Kenyan LYDIA ROTICH, that never seemed this year able to recover her best shape, they will be the athletes fighting for the final.
In the third there is my real favorite : the Russian, World and European Champion, YULIYA ZARIPOVA-ZARUDNEVA, in my opinion unbeatable in the final. With her, a raising Ethiopian at the moment still behind Sofia Assefa at home, but with a bright future : HIWOT AYALEW, young and tall runner, very good in 5000m too (14’49”36) and in strong improvement. Behind them, I’m personally very curious to see how the first World Champion in this event, the Ugandan DORCUS INZIKURU, can perform. Dorcus practically ended the first part of her career after winning Commonwealth Games in 2006. After that victory, she had a daughter, faced several problems, and only 3 months ago came back in full training, staying in Iten with my group. She has a seasonal best of 9’30”95, but I think can run under 9’25” at the moment. This means she can fight for the final, together with BRIDGET FRANEK of US, MERCY NJOROGE of Kenya and ANCUTA BOBOCEL of Romania (other athlete in training in Iten till one month ago).
20 km WALKING Men
Also if this year never showed a good shape, my personal opinion is that the Russian VALERIY BORCHIN is still the favorite. Borchin, born on 3.07.1986, with perfect morphology for the event (178 x 63 kg), can be considered one of the great walkers of the history, related with 20 km. After winning silver medal in the European Championships 2006, he started his strip of big victories : Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing, World Championships 2009 in Berlin and 2011 in Daegu. Valeriy was able to walk in his career 11 times under 1:20:00, and 6 times under 1:19:00. He always showed incredible ability in increasing his speed during the last 5 km of the competition, with any kind of weather. If he’s in shape, can have 70% of possibilities.
Probably, his main opponents can be the Chineses. Two years ago, Chinese Federation asked to the Italian coach Sandro Damilano, that with his athletes won the biggest number of medals in top Championships, to follow the new generation of Chinese walkers. Damilano accepted, and now the best and young Chineses live the most part of the season in Saluzzo (Italy), where there is the IAAF Development Center for Walking, followed by the Italian Master. The problem with Chinese walkers was their technique : too many times they were disqualified, because their technique didn’t follow the rules.
With Damilano, they started working in that direction with more focus. They don’t have still big experience, since are very young ; but their potential is very high, and everything can happen.
This year, on 30th of March, in Taicang there was the official competition for selecting the Chinese Team, and the results were ecceptional :
- ZHENG WANG (born 24.08.91) in 1:17:36
- DING CHEN (born 5.08.92) in 1:17:40
- ZELIN CAI (born 11.04.91) in 1:18:47
In the same race of Taicang, the Italian GIORGIO RUBINO (born 15.04.1986), already 4th in the WCh of Berlin ’09, was 4th in his seasonal best of 1:20:10.
Apart Borchin, Russians have other two top athletes in VLADIMIR KANYAKIN (born 21.03.85), who in 2007 for two following times walked under 1:18:00 (1:17:16 in Saransk on 12th May and 1:17:36 later), and ANDREY KRIVOV (born 14.11.85), with a PB of 1:18:25 on 18th February in Sochi. Krivov went in his career under 1:20:00 for 5 times, but his palmaree in top championships is not very good (17° in WCh ’09).
Other two athletes can be protagonists : ERICK BARRONDO from Guatemala (born 14.06.91), with a PB of 1:18:25 in Lugano this year (18th March, behind the Italian Schwazer), and the Australian JARED TALLENT, born 17.10.1984, with 6 performances under 1:20:00, but very affordable in top competitions (he won Silver in OG ’08 in 50 km and bronze in 20 km, and again won bronze last year in Daegu WCh in 50 km.
This competition is at 5pm, and probably the weather can be good for long distances. In other case, if the temperature is high, I’m not surprise if we can see some dark horse emerging.
This is one of the most thrilling competitions in all Olympic Games. The king of the distance, KENENISA BEKELE, is not in the same conditions of Beijing, and this makes the final result very open.
However, I still believe Kenenisa can win. He had to change his normal program because, in spite of what was able to show in his career, Ethiopian Federation didn’t have confidence in him, asking to compete several times for having a seasonal performance better than other Ethiopians, in order to be selected. Therefore, Kenenisa had to interrupt his training for competing, and his preparation was not perfect. In any case, after his last appearance in Paris (12’55” in 5000m), his training went well, and I think his current value is about 12’50” in 5000m, that means 26’30” in 10000m. But I don’t think he had time enough for enhancing his speed at the level he needs for facing the last lap of MO FARAH, that I think able running about 53”. For this reason, I see one chance only for Kenenisa : to run a very hard progression during the last 4-5 laps, in order to make Mo tired for killing his kick.
In this tactic, Kenenisa can find some alliance with ZERSENAY TADESE, who never was able to finish fast but doesn’t have any problem in pushing very hard the pace, and with the all group of Kenyans. In this group, WILSON KIPROP showed in Kenyan Trials to be the fastest, but in any case his last lap never can be fast enough for defeating Mo Farah if they are together in the last lap. MOSES MASAI is now very much better than during Trials, since he was injured for long time, and his shape continued to grow. BIDAN KAROKI, the youngest of the Team, is an incredible talent, that doesn’t have experience, but is able to create sudden accelerations during the race.
In this situation, also GALEN RUPP can have some chance of medal. In my opinion, he’s not ready for following a race with sudden accelerations, but has the patience to use his pace, and to give him a value of 26’35”, looking at his PB in 5000m, doesn’t seem something not reasonable. Of course, his chances of medal depend on the race of the other runners. Galen doesn’t have the personality for dictating the tactic, but depends on the tactic of the others.
At the end, I give 40% of percentage to win to Kenenisa, the same to Mo Farah, 10% to Wilson Kiprop, 5% to Galen Rupp and the remaining 5% distributed between Moses Masai, Moses Kipsiro, and Bidan Karoki.
400m Women (Semifinals)
3 semifinals, with the first 2 directly in the final, plus the 2 best times.
In the first, I see SANYA RICHARDS winner. In spite of their seasonal times, I think CHRISTINE OHURUOGU can qualify directly, leaving the Russian GUSCHINA to the 3rd position, waiting for the time.
In the second, AMANTLE MONTSHO is the clear favorite, and the American McCORORY as second. But, according to my personal feeling, I wait some great performance from the Nigerian REGINA GEORGE, who can be one of the best in the future.
In the third, probably the hardest, I see KRIVOSHAPKA winning, with the Jamaican NOVLENE WILLIAMS in second position after a tough fight with DEDEE TROTTER.
For the final, I can give some chance to the other 2 Jamaican (ROSEMARY WHYTE and CHRISTINE DAY), but in my opinion the final field is composed by the athletes I named above.
100m Women (Semifinals)
3 semifinals, with the first 2 directly in the final, plus the 2 best times.
In the first, CARMELITA JETER and VERONICA CAMPBELL-BROWN are the top two, and the only thing is to wait for knowing who is the winner. This depends on psychological factors : if one wants to show the other that is in great shape, we can see a tough race till the end, otherwise we see two athletes “floating” the last 20m with good gap on the 3rd.
Different the situation in the other 2 semis. In the second, we have the defending champion FRASER, that really didn’t run in the heat, limiting herself to a fast stride completely relaxed, BAPTISTE that started very bad but had a great acceleration, and ALLISON FELIX, that run the last 40m only. Probably all of them can go in the final, but, because only the first 2 are sure about this, we can see a hard competition. My preview is for Fraser winner and Felix second, on the same line of Baptiste.
Also the 3rd semis is very tough. I see OKAGBARE and AHOURE in the first two positions, with TIANNA MADISON 3rd and KERRON STEWART 4th.
It’s clear that, also if there are no surprises, one of these athletes can’t go in the final. Probably, who has less chances is Tianna Madison, that has a running technique good for long jump (she was World Champion in 2005 in this event), better than for sprinting. Kerron Stewart had a horrible start in the heat, but, if able to start only in normal way, can run under 11”00 and defeat Tianna because her launched phase is very much better.
400m HS Men (Semifinals)
In the first, I think DAVID GREENE can win, and FELIX SANCHEZ can have more chances than KERRON CLEMENT to go in the final.
No problems for JAVIER CULSON in the 2nd. He can win easy, with ANGELO TAYLOR 2nd if able not to do technical confusion, ahead the Cuban OMAR CISNEROS, that is more constant of the Olympic Champion of Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008, but with less talent.
The 3rd semi id the weakest, but at the same time the most open. I think MIKE TINSLEY of US can win, also if didn’t impress me too much during the heats. At the same level I can put the Cuban AMAURYS VALLE and the Nigerian AMAECHI MORTON, but I think this semi can finish with a time slower than in the first two.
LONG JUMP Men (Final)
After the very poor qualifications, I need to follow my feeling build through years of competitions, because the result of yesterday cant help for any kind of preview.
So, I think the Australian MITCHELL WATT can be the winner. He is very aggressive, has a strong and reactive foot, and is a strong fighter, able winning important titles in his 6th attempt.
Another having big talent, penalized by the fact to do too many mistakes taking off, is SEBASTIAN BAYER of Germany. He can be able to destroy the competition in his first attempt, but also to remain without valid jumps collecting faults every time.
In good shape, and very affordable, seems to be the Brasilian VINICIUS da SILVA, 8.28 this year, the best in qualification with 8.11 at his first attempt.
Personally I don’t believe in the specialists of US, very weak compared with the champions of the past.
DISCUS THROW Women (Final)
Five athletes for the title. My order of preference is as follows :
- SANDRA PERKOVIC (Croatia), PB and SB of 68.24, very young but with good experience in Diamond League, where she normally wins
- NADINE MULLER (Germany), PB and SB of 68.89, with the classic technique of East Germany, very constant in her attempts and good competitor till the last throw
- YANFENG LI (China), World Champion, PB of 67.98 and SB of 67.84, very fast in the final of the rotation
- YARELIS BARRIOS (Cuba), the most heavy among the tops, but also the most fighter when the situation is difficult
- DARYA PIHSCHALNIKOVA (Russia), that, in spite of her PB / SB of 70.69, first thrower over 70m in the last 12 years, is not the best competitor when there is the pressure of a top Championship.