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RIO OLYMPICS - ATHLETICS - SEVENTH DAY OF COMPETITION

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On the seventh day of Olympic athletics the fates of six gold medals will be settled. Five finals will be contested, while the men's decathlon will also be over by the time the sun rises on Friday. The men will be fighting for gold in the 400m hurdles, shot put and 200m finals. The women battle for glory in the 400m hurdles and javelin.

Beneath each preview you can find the best results this season from the athletes appearing in the Olympics. Along with the season's bests we also cover the best betting odds among the athletes most likely to win a medal.

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7th day of competition - 18-19.8.

!!! All times are UK times!

Morning session:

16:00 MEN'S 400M HURDLES FINAL

 

This season's number one man in the 400m hurdles Johnny Dutch had a tough pill to swallow. Dutch was involved in his third Olympic trials for team USA, and it looked like the American would finally reach the games for the first time at 27 years of age. However, disaster struck on the last hurdle and his misstep ended up costing him, as four athletes passed him right at the death. 

This meant that team USA in Rio will consist of 2008 Olympic silver medalist Kerron Clement, the silver medalist from the games four years ago Michael Tinsley and Byron Robinson, for whom this will be his first major championships. By looking at this season's results, you can see that only Clement is in with a realistic chance of winning gold, as the other two will require a mammoth performance to just reach the podium. 48.17 was only enough for bronze in last year's world championships.

Reigning European champion Yasmani Copello and Olympic bronze medalist from London Javier Culson are Clement's toughest challengers in the battle for gold. Meanwhile, Japan's Keisuke Nozawa has managed to run under 49 seconds three times this season. 2011 world championships bronze medalist LJ van Zyl has managed that feat twice, while Annsert White has done it once.

The form of the reigning world champion, Kenya's Nicholas Bett remains a complete mystery. After his fantastic run of 47.79 in the Beijing final Bett hasn't come even close to going so fast, and the Kenyan is only 42nd in this year's rankings with a time of 49.31. However, Bett came out of nowhere to win in Beijing, so he cannot be completely overlooked. Boniface Tumuti, who came fifth in Beijing will also be representing Kenya in Rio.

EDIT: Clement and Whyte are the bookies' favourites after the sem-finals, while Copello's and Culson's odds have shot up. An interesting name in the final is Ireland's Thomas Barr, who ran a fantastic time of 48.39 in the semi-finals.

Men's 400m hurdles medal hopefuls in Rio and their odds:

Athletes listed in order of their season's best.

Athlete

Season's Best

Odds & Betting Site

To win gold

Odds & Betting Site
To win a medal

Kerron Clement (USA)

48.26

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Yasmani Copello (TUR)

48.32

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Javier Culson (PUR)

48.46

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Annsert Whyte (JAM)

48.32

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Thomas Barr (IRL)

48.39

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Boniface Tumuti (KEN)

48.85

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Haron Koech (KEN)

48.49

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Evening session:


00:30 MEN'S SHOT PUT FINAL

 

The men's shot put final looks to be an American party. Team USA's Joe Kovacs and Ryan Crouser remain the only athletes to put over 22 metres this season, and even their third countryman Darrell Hill is fourth in this season's rankings with a put of 21.63m. Coming into Rio as the reigning world champion, Kovacs has in fact gone over 22 metres a staggering three times this season!

Nigeria's Stephen Mozia is third in this year's rankings, but in terms of the Olympics he remains a big question mark. The 22-year old Mozia beat his PB with a put of 20.82 on the 17th of July, but managed to eclipse that just three days later with a massive put of 21.76 - a difference of a metre after just a couple of days. It remains to be seen if that put was just a bolt out of the blue or can the Nigerian replicate it consistently. 

David Storl has surprised us all on many an occasion in major championships finals, and he shouldn't be forgotten this time either. The "only" 26-year old German has a London 2012 silver medal, two world championships golds and an impressive three consecutive European championships titles to his name. In Amsterdam Storl took gold with his season's best, while four years ago he took silver with a new PB. Like in football, this German knows when to perform.

The form of reigning Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski has not been as strong as when he was in his prime, as the Pole has only gone over 21 metres twice this season. European championships silver medalist Michal Haratyk and last year's WC fourth Tom Walsh are more likely names to be battling it out for medals than Majewski.

Medal hopefuls in the men'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.

Joe Kovacs (USA)

22.13

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Ryan Crouser (USA)

22.11

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Stephen Mozia (NGR)

21.76 [NR]

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Darrell Hill (USA)

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Tom Walsh (NZL)

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David Storl (GER)

21.39

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Michal Haratyk (POL)

21.23

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Tomasz Majewski (POL)

20.84

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01:10 WOMEN'S JAVELIN THROW FINAL

 

The women's javelin promises to have a really interesting final. Barbora Spotakova, who has won everything there is to win in modern athletics has this season's best result, but the differences between the top-3 aren't huge. For example, Spotakova only came fifth in this year's European championships with a throw of 62.66.

In Amsterdam Tatsiana Khaladovich of Belarus took the plaudits and gold by breaking her PB with a throw of 66.34. With the woman between the two in this season's standings Christin Hussong failing miserably in Amsterdam (just 57.17 in the qualification), it's no wonder that Khaladovich is being billed as the biggest favourite for gold in some bookies' books. 

Khaladovich has thrown over 65 metres an impressive three times this season, while Spotakova has achieved the same feat only twice. Other women in the 65 metre club have only done it once this campaign, with Linda Stahl being the most recent one as she took silver in the European championships.

The Chinese duo of Liu Shiying and Lu Huihui are also looking to make an impact on the podium places, but they have struggled for consistency all year, as their results have been a real rollercoaster ride. Meanwhile, experienced Christina Obergföll has been on the podium in two Olympics in a row, as she took bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012. The 34-year old German will do all she can to keep that run intact in what will most likely be her last Olympic games.

EDIT: Maria Andrejczyk took the athletics world by storm by throwing the best result of the year in the qualification. She is now being billed as one of the favourites. Sara Kolak is another potential surprise package in the final, as she threw her record with a throw of over 64 metres.

Out of the leading ladies Khaladovich, Palameika, Stahl and Viljoen met the required result for the final with their first throw, while Spotakova did it with her second.

Medal hopefuls in the women's javelin and their best betting odds:

Athlete

Season's Best

Odds & Betting Site
To win gold

Odds & Betting Site
To win a medal

Barbora Spotakova (CZE)

66.87

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Christin Hussong (GER)

66.41

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Christina Obergföll

64.96

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Tatsiana Khaladovich (BLR)

66.34 [NR]

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Madara Palameika (LAT)

65.68

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Linda Stahl (GER)

65.25

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Sunette Viljoen (RSA)

65.14

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Lu Huihui (CHN)

64.03

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Maria Andrejczyk (POL)

67.11 [NR]

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02:15 WOMEN'S 400M HURDLES FINAL

 

Reigning world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Zuzana Hejnová's season has been ruined by an injury to her achilles tendon, and the Czech decided to skip the European championships in Amsterdam at the last minute. Hejnová has only competed once all season, and her time of 55.69 is enough for only 38th place in this season's rankings. However, if the injury has been treated and the Czech star has been able to find some form in practices she may be able to challenge for the podium places.

Dalilah Muhammed of the United States ran a staggering time of 52.88 seconds in July. That remains over a second better than the time of the woman second in this season's rankings, Janieve Russell. Muhammed has gone under 54 seconds a second time this season as well, so the American has found the perfect season to be bang in form. Meanwhile, Russell came only fifth in last year's world championships, so the 22-year old Jamaican has also seen her stock rise significantly.

USA's Ashley Spencer and 2014 European champion Eilidh Doyle are other names who have a strong chance of reaching the podium in Rio. However, the most interesting name in Rio is without a doubt just 17-year old Sydney McLaughlin, who broke the junior world record in the USA Olympic trials with a time of 54.15. That was enough for her to book her ticket to Rio alongside Spencer and Muhammed.

The other names who can make an impact in the final are reigning European champion Sara Slott Petersen, London 2012 fourth Kaliese Spencer and last year's WC seventh, Wenda Neill.

EDIT: Hejnová ran 54.55 in the semi-finals, which is enough for 11th place in this season's rankings. The Czech seems to be in pretty good form, but will it be enough to keep up with the leading women of Jamaica and the United States?

Medal hopefuls in the women's 400m hurdles and their best odds:

Athlete

Season's Best

Odds & Betting Site
To win gold

Odds & Betting Site
To win a medal

Dalilah Muhammad (USA)

52.88

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53.96

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54.02

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54.09

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Sara Slott Petersen (DEN)

54.33

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Zuzana Hejnová (CZE)

54.55

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02:30 MEN'S 200M FINAL

Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt. And one more time, Usain Bolt. Although the Jamaican superstar has only run the 200 metres once this season, he is still the undoubted favourite for gold in Rio. His time of 19.89 is nowhere near his best, but Bolt has previously showed that his best form only comes in major championships when he really needs it.

However, the trio of Americans at the top of this season's rankings are more than capable of mounting a challenge. Better known for his prowess over 400 metres, LaShawn Merritt has been in incredible form on the 200m as well, clocking under 19.80 an impressive three times this season. Only a hundreth of a second behind him is Justin Gatlin, who requires no introduction.

USA's Ameer Webb, Miguel Francis of Antigua & Barbadua and Team GB's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake have all gone under 20 seconds this season, but climbing on the podium in Rio will require something extraordinary from all three. Mitchell-Blake also competed in the European championships in Amsterdam, but the Brit had to settle for a disappointing fifth place.

Bronze medal winner in Rio on the 100 metres Andre de Grasse looks to be in fine form. Behind Bolt in second at London 2012, Yohan Blake is also competing, but the Jamaican's recent form hasn't been awe-inspiring. Blake has run the 200m three times this season, clocking in at 21.33, 20.29 and 20.29.

EDIT: Bolt, Merritt and de Grasse turned out to be the only leading men to reach the finals. Bolt cruised to a semi-final victory with de Grasse right behind him. However, Bolt practically jogged the last 50 metres, so if anyone can challenge him in the final it would be a major surprise.

Medal hopefuls in the men's 200m and their best odds:

Athlete

Season's Best

Odds & Betting Site
To win gold

Odds & Betting Site
To win a medal

LaShawn Merritt (USA)

19.74

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19.88

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Andre de Grasse (CAN)

20.16

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