August 20th, 2016 | Marten Julian's Guest Contributor News
We are reaching the end of another amazing Olympic Games. It has been a truly brilliant performance from Team GB with 25 Golds and 61 medals in total as I write this.
We have a few more chances today, Tom Daley in the 10m platform, Nicola Adams and James Joyce will both fight for gold and Mo Farah defends his 5000m title. There are other chances, like in the Women’s Triathlon, but these are probably the best ones. I doubt we can match the 29 golds in London but our team performance in Rio has been exceptional.
The final night on the track starts in the early hours tonight with the two 4X400m relay finals, the Women’s 800m, Men’s 1500m and the Men’s 5000m. Unfortunately, all these races have a heavy odds on favourite and all are hard to oppose.
The Women’s 4x400m relay looks to be between the favourites USA, currently trading at 1.29/1.3, and their Caribbean rivals, Jamaica. I fancy the USA to win with the beautifully smooth Alyson Felix bringing home the baton. I think the price is a back. The bronze medal could be close with GB having a reasonable chance.
The Men’s 4x400m relay usually delivers an exciting race but I think USA are strong favourites. They have strength in depth and I expect them to improve significantly from their heat by changing several of their runners for the final. Jamaica did beat USA in the heat and they should be the strongest opposition. Sadly the GB team were disqualified after winning their heat. It looked an extremely harsh decision and I expect an appeal but overturning a decision is difficult and quite rare. The USA are trading at 1.21/1.22 and I cannot oppose them. I’m prepared to back at this price.
The Women’s 800m has a short-priced favourite in Caster Semenya. Caster has very high levels of testosterone and after an original decision that she had to reduce her levels to compete, this was overturned in court and she is allowed to complete in her natural condition.
Semenya is stronger and faster than the rest of the field and it is hard to see anyone else troubling her bar an unfortunate incident like her falling. She trades at 1.11/1.12 which is hard to disagree with.
Margaret Wambui and Francine Niyonsaba are probably the next best but realistically the minor medals are their best chance. Lynsey Sharp goes for GB and I have been impressed with her form. I think she will be competitive, but a medal is a big ask but it is possible.
Personally I haven’t bet in this event.
The Men’s 1500m is a favourite event. Asbel Kiprop, the Kenyan World Champion, is the worthy favourite and currently trades at 1.39/1.4. Four years ago Taoufik Makhloufi was an unknown but he showed brilliant form in heats and semi-finals, whereas Kiprop, the favourite back then, looked decidedly poor. Makhloufi delivered in the London final to my delight.
Makhloufi has not shown too much between London and Rio but as soon as I saw him in his first run in his 800m heat, I thought he was back in form. He won a silver in the 800m behind Rudesha.
I expect Makhloufi, trading at 7.2 / 7.4, to run well again tonight but Kiprop looks so strong and I expect him to win. I think the price on Kiprop is about right and therefore I haven’t bet.
Our champion, Mo Farah, goes for his second gold in Rio in the 5,000m. It is tough to win both the 10,000m and the 5,000m as the wonderful Ethiopian, Ayana, showed last night when she tired dramatically in the 5,000m women’s final after her outstanding world record performance in winning the 10,000m.
Fatigue caught up with her, and it’s possible the same could happen to Farah. However his style of running by relying on his superior speed at the finish is slightly less demanding than the front running style of Ayana. The Africans will try their best but I expect Farah to overcome a tough challenge and just prevail due to his superior speed at the end.
Farah trades at 1.3/1.32, which is quite short for backing in my opinion.
Enjoy the rest of the Games and let’s hope Team GB can win a few more Golds.