With only a couple of days to wait before the track and field events start at the Tokyo Olympics. Trackstaa has reviewed some of the most popular events, with details on who to watch and our predictions for medals.
All the action in the Track and Field portion of the Olympics gets underway on Friday and it’s a busy day. With heats to come in the women’s 800m, women’s 100m, women’s 5000m and the men’s 400m hurdles and 3000m steeplechase. The big set piece event of the Friday is the men’s 10,000m final, however. So, that’s where we’ll start.
For British fans, many will have been disappointed that Mo Farah wasn’t able to qualify for the event. In reality, however, even had he done so, he was unlikely to be a serious challenger for a medal in what is such a strong field.
Naturally, all eyes will be on Joshua Cheptegei as the world record holder (26:11.00) but it would be fair to say that he’s not been in the blistering form he was in in 2020. So, whilst he might start as the favourite, our prediction is that his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo, who beat Cheptegei in the 2020 World Half Marathon Championships will be too strong on the day. His kick is lightning quick. Keep an eye on the Ethopians, in particular, Selemon Barega. Kenyan, Rhonex Kipruto, who’s ranked 2nd in the world is also likely to be a very strong contender.
Men’s: Gold. Jacob Kiplimo Silver. Joshua Cheptegei Bronze. Selemon Barega
For the women, it’s an equally competitive race. With the favourites undoubtedly being Letesnbet Gidey and Sifan Hassan. It’s a really tough one to call, possibly even harder than the men’s, which is saying something. I think, over the longer distance, Sifan Hassan’s form and experience is probably just enough to get the job done but Gidey will be a very close second. Battling these 2 favourites, however, is still a list of incredible athletes who, on their day and in the right race, could certainly challenge for gold. Hellen Obiri and Gudaf Tsegay spring to mind, in particular. Eilish McColgan leads the European challenge.
Women’s: Gold. Sifan Hassan Silver. Letesnbet Gidey Bronze. Hellen Obiri
Women’s 100m: The women’s 100m has lost some of its gloss after US sprint sensation Sha’Carri Richardson was banned for ingesting cannabis. That said, it’s still one of the most exciting races of the Olympics and easily eclipses the men’s race as the event’s showpiece. The 3 Jamaicans are all likely to be strong, as is Nigerian, Blessing Okagbare. World 200m Champion Dina Asher-Smith is a real gold medal contender, having beaten the fastest woman alive Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce already this year in Gateshead. Tough one to call, this is what we’re going for:
Gold: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Silver: Dina Asher-Smith Bronze: Elaine Thompson-Herah
Women’s 200m: This promises to be another exciting race with potential gold medallists across the field. Dina Asher-Smith is world champion and will be confident but Miller-Uibo and the in form Thompson-Herah will be a huge challenge to overcome. It makes for one heck of a race:
Gold: Dina Asher-Smith Silver: Shaunae Miller-Uibo Bronze: Gabby Thomas
Men’s 100m: For the first time since 2004, Usain Bolt will not be winning either men’s sprint events. In fact, the men’s sprints are very weak this year in comparison. That said, Trayvon Brommell got back to winning ways in the Diamond League recently and starts the men’s 100m as favourite
Gold: Trayvon Brommell Silver: Ronnie Baker Bronze: Andre De Grasse
Men’s 200m: Like the men’s 100m, for the first time in a while, it’s not a race that many fans are particularly excited about. With the world record so far out of reach and the poster boy for the 200m, Noah Lyles, having struggled for form at points over the last year, I am hoping it’s not going to be a damp squib. That said, I’m predicting a clean sweep for the US, this year.
Gold: Noah Lyles Silver: Kenny Bednarek Bronze: Erriyon Knighton
The men’s and women’s 400m hurdle races are without doubt, up there with the most mouth-watering races of the entire track section of the games. With the world records only just broken in both the men’s and women’s events, they promise to serve up some hugely exciting races.
Men’s: The race everyone has been waiting for. Karsten Warholm versus Rai Benjamin. They’re the only real gold medal contenders, unless either hits a hurdle and falls and it’s likely to be a straight foot race between the 2. Benjamin’s unique relaxed style and natural talent against Warholm’s competitive edge. This was a tough prediction:
Gold: Karsten Warholm Silver: Rai Benjamin Bronze: Alison Dos Santos
Women’s: Although not quite as up in the air as the men’s, it still has all the makings of a fantastic race. Sydney McLaughlin starts as favourite, there’s no doubt about that. But many observers will be keen to see how Femke Bol gets on as so far she’s been undefeated this season, easily beating Shamier Little in their last match-up in the Diamond League.
Gold: Sydney McLaughlin Silver: Delilah Muhammad Bronze: Femke Bol
The 800m is another hugely competitive race on both sides, with it difficult to pick a favourite in either race, particularly the men’s. Especially with so many people having run well but not quite yet dropped a stellar time that has put their mark on the world. Frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised if some ‘big names’ didn’t even make the final. But, so you don’t have to, we’ve put our money where our mouth is and set out our predictions below:
Men’s: Gold: Nigel Amos Silver: Emmanuel Korir Bronze: Elliot Giles
Women’s: Again, another race where there are several potential medallists. There’s only one who will realistically win gold:
Gold: Athing Mu Silver: Rose-Mary Almanza Bronze: Jemma Reekie
Men’s: On the men’s side, certainly, it has all the hallmarks of being the best race of the whole Olympics. With Jakob Ingebrigtsen confirming that he won’t be running in the 5000m to focus on the 1500m, his chances of a gold have now risen even further. Cheruiyot is still most peoples’ favourite but he is going to have work a lot harder now that Jakob’s full energy is focussed exclusively on the 3 and ¾ lap race. While those 2 battle it out for Gold and Silver, the race for Bronze is arguably even more exciting. With Team GB, Australia and the USA in a mini-battle. Right now, it would be hard to look past the Australians with Stewy McSweyn in red-hot form, running a 3:29 a few weeks ago as well as the quickest mile by anyone, anywhere, for over 7 years. But British pair Josh Kerr and Jakes Wightman, who ran 3:29 in Monaco last year, will have something to say about that. As will the USA trio, reigning champion Centrowitz just dropped a 3:49 mile fading badly in the last 600 and if they’re bunched up with to 200 to go, Cole Hocker’s kick is as dangerous as anyone’s.
Gold: Jakob Ingebrigtsen Silver: Tim Cheruiyot Bronze: Josh Kerr
Women’s: The women’s race will see Sifan Hassan line up again over the shorter distance and she’ll be looking to getting revenge over 2016 Olympic Champion Faith Kipyegon who beat in her the Diamond League a few weeks ago. It promises to be a very competitive race where a British athlete might have something to say about the eventual winner. This was a tough one to call.
Gold: Faith Kipyegon Silver: Sifan Hassan Bronze: Laura Muir
Men’s: Another race where the world record holder in the men’s race, Joshua Cheptegei, will in the eyes of most seasoned track fans, not start as favourite. He was comprehensively defeated in a world-class field, finishing a disappointing 6th in 12:54.69. Most people will expect him to be better this time, but he’s got a long way to go and whilst Ingebrigtsen is not racing the 5000m, another young superstar in Jacob Kiplimo is. Whilst we’ve not seen him race much this year, his strength and ferocious kick mean, for most, he starts as favourite. But the list of talent is endless, from Mo Ahmed and Justyn Knight of Canada to the Spanish sensation Mo Katir and Ethiopian Getnet Wale. Don’t forget Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo either.
Gold: Jacob Kiplimo Silver: Genet Wale Bronze: Mo Katir
Women’s: Could Sifan Hassan do the triple and win the 5000m as well as the 10 and 15? Well, it’s essentially impossible and we still think her best chance is over the 10,000m. That said, she’s going to be very competitive in the 5,000m and the 1500m. She could certainly walk away from the Olympics with 3 medals. In this 5000m, however, I think Gudaf Tsegay starts as favourite but it’s another wide open long-distance women’s race for us all to enjoy. Here’s what we think:
Gold: Gudaf Tsegay Silver: Sifan Hassan Bronze: Hellen Obiri
Men’s: Finally, we arrive at the marathon. Many fans had even hoped that the debate about who is better Kipchoge or Bekele would also be resolved. Well that certainly won’t happen with Bekele not selected for Ethiopia this time.
The intense heat and humidity are likely to suit Kipchoge and whilst there are plenty of good marathoners, when he’s on his game, there is essentially nobody that can go with him. He looked peerless during the NN Mission Marathon event earlier in the year and so it’s not an exaggeration to say that the whole world is watching Eliud to see exactly how he’s going to race. Although having said that, 4 men have ran faster in the marathon than Kipchoge this year – this is not going to be easy for the all-time great. Only twice has the Olympic marathon title been successfully defended, Abebe Bikila in 1960 and ’64 and Waldemar Cierpinski in 1976 and 1980. The strongest fight will come from world champion, Lelisa Desisa, the winner of the 2020 Tokyo marathon Sisay Lemma and the winner of the Ethiopian trials and the London 2020 marathon, Shura Kitata. Here’s our predictions:
Gold: Eliud Kipchoge Silver: Shura Kitata Bronze: Sisay Lemma
Women’s: In the women’s race, the favourite is far clearer to discern. Kenyan, Brigid Kosgei starts as the stand-out favourite. She’s the world record holder and pretty invincible since about 2018 when she won in Chicago in 2:18:35. Her world record 2:14:04 is so quick, it boggles the mind, frankly and she’s won her last 4 competitive marathons. She’s got strong company though, Peres Jepchirchir and Ruth Chepnegitch in particular. Ominously, Birhane Dibaba ran 2:18.35 in Tokyo last year in a strong field behind 32 year old Israeli Lonah Salpeter who won in 2:17:45
Gold: Brigid Kosgei Silver: Peres Jepchirchir Bronze: Ruth Chepngetich
Other notable predictions
There’s just too much exciting action to cover every event in detail, below is a list of our other predictions, more field events to come individually:
- Men’s 110m Hurdles – Gold: Grant Holloway Silver: Omar McLeod Bronze: Ron Levy
- Women’s 400m – Gold: Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Silver: Allyson Felix, Bronze: Marileidy Paulino
- Men’s Pole Vault – Gold: Mondo Duplantis, Silver: Piotr Lisek, Bronze: Renauld Livillenie
- Men’s 3000m SC – Gold: Leonard Bett, Silver: Abe Kibiwott, Bronze: Soufiane El Bakkali
- Women’s 3000mSC – Gold: Beatrice Chepkoech, Silver: Hyvin Kiyeng, Bronze: Mekides Abebe
- Men’s 400m – Gold: Michael Norman, Silver: Randolph Ross, Bronze: Michael Cherry