Jack Houghton previews the day's Athletics schedule. Could there be a world record in store on the track?
It's hard to see why Usain Bolt (1.2) won't confirm 100m-form with Yohan Blake (6.2), but the price is unattractive. I think Christophe Lemaitre (120.0) - whose win at the Crystal Palace Grand Prix in July was the best piece of form shown by any non-Jamaican this season - has a chance at the bronze, but again, the odds are doing nothing to excite me.
David Rudisha (1.09) is phenomenal: he broke a long-standing world record in 2010 at the age of 21, and won the World Championships in Daegu last year despite having struggled with injuries earlier in the season. This season he has been on fire, remaining unbeaten and setting the four fastest times in the world for the event, including twice going sub-1.42. That tells us that he is in the kind of form to break his own world record of 1.41.01.
Conventional wisdom tells us, of course, that the days when middle- and long-distance athletes target world records at major championships are a distance memory. But I just have this sneaking feeling that, provided conditions are right, Rudisha is looking to resurrect those halcyon days and attempt to go sub-1.41 in the final. If he goes for it, I reckon he has an even-money chance of being successful, so I'm more than happy to have a speculative interest in the World Record market at 9.4.
In the race itself, it's pointless opposing Rudisha, because only a gross misjudgement on his part, or some kind of accident, can prevent him winning. With that in mind, I wouldn't discourage anyone from lumping on at 1.09, but I don't have the nerve to join you. For those looking for bigger odds, it makes sense to get involved in the Top Three market. Obvious candidates for a medal are Abubaker Kaki (1.93), who followed Rudisha home at the World Championships last year, and the high-profile youngsters, Mohammed Aman (1.4) and Nijel Amos (2.2), but I'm more interested in the 17-year-old Kenyan, Timothy Kitum (4.8), who finished second to Amos at the World Juniors this year, and doesn't need to improve much to secure a place at the medal ceremony.
The medallists here might be decided on the basis of who tries to race Rudisha, and who instead only races for silver. And if the other Africans adopt the latter tactic, it's not impossible that Team GB's Andrew Osagie, and the two Americans, Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds, could sneak a place, but otherwise they should be pleased with having made the final.
Men's Triple Jump:
As reigning world champion and the best in the world this year, Christian Taylor is the most likely winner. He is young, proved he can perform when it matters in Daegu last year - where he became the fifth-best triple jumper on the all-time lists - and could well go over 18.00m in the final. But his odds of around 1.751 are nothing to salivate over, and I'll be looking elsewhere.
Those prohibitive odds are largely the result of the absence of Teddy Tamgho, who was banned for six months by French officials after an "altercation" with a female athlete and who has subsequently been ruled out of the Games with an ankle injury, and the farcical Phillips Idowu situation, which saw him fail to qualify for the final. In the eyes of the market, then, Taylor's closest competitor is William Claye (7.4), but I'm more interested in Lyukman Adams in both the Gold Medal (16.0) and Top Three (2.9) markets. Unbeaten outdoors this year, the young athlete - who is making waves in Russia for being non-white - could spring a surprise against more well-known names.
1 point back New World Record at 9.4 in Men's 800m.
2 points back of Timothy Kitum at 4.8 to medal in the Men's 800m.
1 point back of Lyukman Adams at 16.0 in Men's Triple Jump.
1 point back of Lyukman Adams at 2.90 to medal in Men's Triple Jump.
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