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RIO OLYMPICS - ATHLETICS - FIRST DAY OF COMPETITION

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On the first day of athletics in Rio there a three gold medals up for grabs, as the women's shot put, men's 20km walk and women's 10 000m final all take place. The women's heptathlon also starts among the first events of the games.

Underneath each preview of a final you can find this season's leading results in the world from athletes appearing in the games. In addition to the results, we also cover the best odds for these athletes to achieve victory.

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1st day of competition - 12-13.8.

!!! All times are UK times!

Morning session:

13:35: Women's Heptathlon

The women's heptathlon in Rio will be one of the tightly contested events in recent history, as the ten best women this season are all competing for the medals in Brazil. However, two of these names are a class above from the rest - Team GB's Jessica Ennis-Hill and Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton.ll.

The reigning Olympic champion and two-time world champion Ennis-Hill has no equal in terms of competing at major events, and there's no reason why she wouldn't be bringing her A-game to Rio as well. However, the reigning champion has a real challenger from Canada, as the 27-year old Theisen-Eaton leads the way this season with a result of 6765 points. Ennis-Hill's season's best is just a measly 32 points less. 

Theisen-Eaton finished only tenth in London four years ago, but she has vastly improved over the last couple of years. The Canadian has had her two best results (6765 & 6808) during the past two seasons, while Ennis-Hill hasn't been able to reach those heights for four years - albeit this is partly due to the 2014 season when she was concentrating on her pregnancy and child.  

Third in the world rankings, this season's European champion Anouk Vetter is also a strong candidate for a podium place, although the battle for bronze is going to be brutal. Latvia's Laura Ikauniece Admidina skipped the European Championships, as she decided to focus solely on Rio, while her season's best is only four points worse compared to Vetter's. Carolin Schäfer, who is fifth in the world rankings was also absent from Amsterdam.

Behind the TOP5 there are still some names that deserve to be highlighted. Antoinette Nana Djimou from France finished fifth in London 2012 and has a season's best of 6458. She also claimed the silver in Amsterdam earlier this summer right behind Vetter. Team GB's Katarina Johnson-Thompson is also a potential medal candidate, although her season's best is only a disappointing 6304 points, which is good enough for 17th place in this season's rankings.

Heptathlon medal hopefuls in Rio and their odds:

 

Athlete

Season's Best

Odds & Betting Site

To win gold

Odds & Betting Site
To win a medal

1.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton (CAN)

6765

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2.

Jessica Ennis-Hill (GBR)

6733

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3.

Anouk Vetter (NED)

6626 [NR]

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4.

Laura Ikauniece-Admidiņa (LAT)

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Carolin Schäfer (GER)

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8.

Antoinette Nana Djimou (FRA)

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR)

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15:10 Women's 10 000m Final

There is only one favourite in the women's 10 000m final. Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana has been in a league of her own all season, as her best this campaign is over 20 seconds faster than that of the woman in second, Kenia's Alice Nawowuna. Ethiopia as a whole has been in cruise control of this event this year, as Nawowuna is the only non-Ethiopian in the Top 10 times this year.

Ethiopia's other two athletes in the Olympics are Gelete Burka and two-time Olympic gold winner Tirunesh Dibaba. Burka won silver at the World Championships a year ago behind Kenia's Vivian Cheruiyot. The bookies favour Cheruiyot quite a lot in the odds, as her time of 31:36.37 this season is far behind the other leading ladies. However, the two-time world champion and Olympic bronze winner in London shouldn't be counted out just yet.

11th in this season's times, UAE's Alia Mohamed Saeed is also looking to make an impact on the podium places, but the Ethiopians could end up being a tad too fast fer her. 

Medal hopefuls in the women's 10 000m and their best odds:

 

Athlete

Season's Best

Odds & Betting Site
To win gold

Odds & Betting Site
To win a medal

1.

Almaz Ayana (ETH)

30:07.00

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Alice Nawowuna (KEN)

30:26.94

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3.

Gelete Burka (ETH)

30:28.47

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Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH)

30:28.53

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5.

Alia Mohamed Saeed (UAE)

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Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN)

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18:30: Men's 20km Walk Final

The men's 20km walk promises to have a really entertaining battle for the podium places. The Japanese trio of Takahashi, Fujisawa and Matsunaga are the only men to have gone under 1:19.00 this season, but they can still be considered only challengers when it comes to the gold. The Japanese are overshadowed for example by Wang Zhen, winner of the bronze in London and the silver in last year's world championships. 

11th in the season's best rankings, reigning Olympic champion Chen Ding ran a new Olympic record of 1:18.46 in the games in London. The Chinese duo can yet again be considered favourites thanks to their vast experience, as the three Japanese men are yet to taste any kind of major success.

Lower in this season's rankings, the reigning world- and European champion Miguel Ángel López and Benjamin Thorne can also be highlighted. Neither of the two have come to Rio for a holiday, and the two men have their eyes firmly set on an Olympic medal, despite this season's results having been slightly underwhelming. 

Medal hopefuls in the men's 20km walk and their best betting odds:

 

Athlete

Season's Best

Odds & Betting Site
To win gold

Odds & Betting Site
To win a medal

1.

Eiki Takahashi (JPN)

1:18:26

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2.

Isamu Fujisawa (JPN)

1:18:45

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3.

Daisuke Matsunaga (JPN)

1:18:53

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4.

Perseus Karlström (SWE)

1:19:11

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5.

Wang Zhen (CHN)

1:19:12

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Chen Ding (CHN)

1:19:32

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Benjamin Thorne (CAN)

1:20:08

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33.

Miguel Ángel López (ESP)

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Evening session:

2:00: Women's Shot Put Final

The two-time reigning Olympic champion and quadruple world champion Valerie Adams is yet again the number one favourite to win gold in the Olympics. The New Zealand icon's merits speak for themselves, but this year Adams has two extremely tough challengers to overcome. 

China's Gong Lijiao holds the season's best result with 20.43, which is 24 centimetres better than the 20.19 Adams has managed. Lijiao won bronze in London four years ago, and grabbed silver in the world championships a year ago behind this season's third best shot putter, Germany's Christina Schwanitz. Adams didn't appear in last year's world champioships, which were held in Beijing. 

The five best results of the TOP3 this season:

Gong Lijiao: 19.73, 19.38, 19.74, 20.43, 19.77
Valerie Adams: 20.19, 20.05, 19.37, 19.63, 19.69
Christina Schwanitz: 19.92, 19.71, 20.14, 19.81, 20.17

The numbers show that Schwanitz is the most consistent athlete out of the three. However, Adams' last two results before the Olympics have been very impressive, whereas Lijiao hasn't even gotten close to the 20m mark.

These three women have been in a league of their own this season, but last year's bronze winner in the world championships Michelle Carter could have what it takes to challenge them. Carter was fifth in London 2012. Meanwhile, Hungary's Anita Márton was fourth in the Beijing world championships. 

Medal hopefuls in the women's shot put and their best odds:

 

Athlete

Season's Best

Odds & Betting Site
To win gold

Odds & Betting Site
To win a medal

1.

Gong Lijiao (CHN)

20.43

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2.

Valerie Adams (NZL)

20.19

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3.

Christina Schwanitz (GER)

20.17

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4.

Michelle Carter (USA)

19.59

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5.

Anita Márton (HUN)

19.49 [NR]

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