We’re certain you’ve heard that the 2020 Summer Olympics will now be held in 2021. In fact, the entire itinerary has been pushed by back exactly 12 months. The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin on 23 July 2021 in the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo with over 11 000 athletes and 80 000 spectators in attendance.
The National Stadium will also be the venue for Athletics. Despite the sport not being a traditional mine for Aussie Gold Medals, interest is higher than usual in the Athletics program. Australian online bookmakers like Bet365 Australia are soon expected to be collating odds for a list of Gold Medal favourites. Let’s examine closely some of Track and Field’s Gold Medal favourites.
Mo Farah – Britain’s outstanding 10 000 metre favourite
Late in 2019, Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah decided to defend his 10 000m title at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and despite the Olympics being pushed back, the mail is that Farah will stick to his guns and stay with the track races.
Although Farah broke the existing European Marathon record with a blitzing 2:05:11 win in Chicago in 2018, and excellent third and fifth-place finishes in London, the 42km event didn’t give Farah the kind of satisfaction nor high level of results he is accustomed to.
British champ Farah, 38, by the time the Olympics come around, initially quit track events in 2017 to concentrate on the Marathon. However, having won Double Gold in the 5000m and 10 000m in 2012 and 2016 respectively, he decided to return to track racing, home of most of his successes and he’s a roaring favourite to repeat his Double Gold heroics.
The 100m blue ribbon event – Noah Lyles or Christian Coleman?
Coleman beat legendary Jamaican, Usain Bolt, to silver in the 100m final at the World Championships in 2017. The 23-year-old American finished the year with a 9.79, the fastest time since 2014, and after successfully appealing a WADA ban for missing tests, won the 100m at the 2019 World Championships with a new PB – a stunning 9.76 seconds – the sixth fastest time in history.
On the other hand, Noah Lyles, is the man most likely to succeed Usain Bolt in the personality stakes, but is not without the talent either. Lyles is more than a social media ball buster and backs up his mouth with wins, unbeaten over 200m in 2018 and won Gold at the 2019 Worlds anchoring the USA in the 4x100m relay and winning the 200m.
Kelsey-Lee Barber – Australia’s best Track & Field Gold Medal hope
Javelin thrower, Kelsey-Lee Barber carries the hope of a nation, with the Aussie favourite to take home the Gold Medal in Tokyo.
The 28-year-old’s career is on an upward spiral and steadily improving. She’s now a noted big-time performer with medals at both Commonwealth Games and World Championships. Barber will be the athlete in Tokyo that the others are attempting to hunt down after her stunning and dramatic last round 2019 World Championship throw moving her from fourth place to first to win Gold.
Hopefully, the burden of being one of Australia’s only two genuine Track and Field medal chances (high jumper Brendon Starc being the other) will not weigh too heavily on Barber.
While its frustrating for many athletes that the extra year of training will be a drain before Tokyo 2021, for other competitors it gives them an opportunity to work hard and surprise the favourites.
The extra year ensures there will be upsets aplenty and new household names created – watch this space.