IN just over a week’s time the eyes of the world will be firmly fixed on London as the 2012 Olympics burst into life.
At the moment, most people seem to be talking more aboutsecurity issues and coach drivers with no sense of direction rather than the
Of course it less than seven days until the football gets
underway at the Millennium Stadium but the feeling is that the Olympics only
officially start when the opening ceremony takes place next Friday.
Despite all of the well-publicised teething problems and
organising hitches, the 29th Olympiad promises to be a spectacular celebration
of sporting prowess – though the rain may have a big say too!
The two weeks plus of competition should also be a good one
for Great Britain (yes, Northern Ireland is included in that) with the fact
that the games are in this country are worth a couple of extra medals alone.
I don’t confess to being an expert on handball, shooting or
synchronised swimming but I do know a little bit about athletics and am
confident that Team GB (that will be the first and last time I use that) can
excel on home turf.
For what it’s worth, here are my predictions for British golden
glory in track and field.
MEN’S 400M HURDLES
DAI GREENE will win a medal and I reckon he can get gold,
despite losing to rival Javier Culson in the last couple of races in the
build-up to the Olympics. We know he’s a championship performer having already
become European, Commonwealth and world champion over the last three seasons
and, providing he doesn’t give the Puerto Rican, or anyone else for that
matter, more than a two-metre lead with 50 to go he has the finish to come
I’m sure Lynn Davies is even getting a bit tired of being
the last Welshman to win an Olympic athletics gold medal. It’s Welsh athletics' equivalent of the
Welsh rugby team’s drought against the All Blacks.
I’ve been watching athletics for at least 24 years and never
in that time has the UK had someone who can go toe-to-toe with the Africans in
the long distance races – but now we do.
MO FARAH, like Greene, has also become a world-class
performer and I feel he can win at least one gold medal in either the 5k or 10k.
Who knows, maybe he can follow in the footsteps of Emil Zatopek and Lasse Viren
and win both.
Farah’s devastating kick finish is likely to be the key to
his chances of coming out on top in London. In the last few years it has helped
him take three European and a world title.
Perhaps the athlete under the most pressure to bring home
the bacon for Great Britain is JESSICA ENNIS in the heptathlon. Held up as the
poster girl for the Olympics, Ennis will be competing at her first games with
so much expectation on her shoulders.
If she does have an off day or two in the heptathlon, Ennis
is also entered in the women’s sprint hurdles and I wouldn’t bet against her
even making the final of that event given her brilliant form this year.
WOMEN’S 400M HURDLES
Until last weekend I must admit I thought PERRI SHAKES-DRAYTON would do well to scrape a bronze but after her massive personal
best and new national record at Crystal Palace she is now a contender for the
MEN’S HIGH JUMP
Had you asked me who ROBBIE GRABARZ was this time last year
I wouldn’t have had a clue but the high jumper has enjoyed a meteoric rise this
year with a huge PB of 2.36 and a European Championship gold to his name.
Germaine Mason surprised everyone in Beijing by winning silver and there’s no
reason why Grabarz can’t go one better.
Reigning 400m champion CHRISTINE OHURUOGU seems to be coming
into top form at just the right time, as she did in China in 2008. Sanya
Richards-Ross will again be the favourite this time but I just have this
feeling that she is destined never to win the gold and Ohuruogu, a championship
performer, could well snatch it from under the American’s nose once more.
OTHER GB TRACK & FIELD MEDAL HOPES
TRIPLE JUMP – If – and it’s a very, very big if – PHILLIPS
IDOWU can hold off his injury demons for a couple of jumps, he can win gold. On
a good day, YAMILE ALDAMA could too in the women’s event although Ukraine’s
Olga Saladuha is the athlete to beat.
LONG JUMP – There are medal chances for our men and women
here with both GREG RUTHERFORD and CHRIS TOMLINSON podium possibles. And with no-one
in the men’s long jump setting the world alight to say the least, the two men
could have a golden opportunity to stake a claim for first prize. The same is
true of SHARA PROCTOR who has recorded some big jumps this summer and can’t be
overlooked for bronze, silver or even gold.
WOMEN’S POLE VAULT – British record holder HOLLY BLEASDALE
has also had a rapid rise to the top and is one of the best performers in her
event right now.
WOMEN’S JAVELIN – I’m probably tempting fate here but I’m including
GOLDIE SAYERS in my list of medal hopes but only because she has come into form
at the right time. She has often promised much but failed time again though.
RELAYS – I don’t care if the men get the baton round in the
sprint relay, Great Britain still don’t have a hope of getting a medal. Well, actually, only if
they run a perfect race and others mess up then perhaps but there are too many
teams out there who are simply quicker than them. However, there is a medal up
for grabs for the men in the 4X400M RELAY and they have a good pool of runners
to choose from, including Dai Greene, Jack Green and Rhys Williams from the
By David Williams