As part of our coverage, Larry’s Excellent European adventure will continue in thirty-six hours, as I fly from Eugene, Oregon to Glasgow, Scotland to cover the Commonwealth Games. I will be there through August 3 and then, it is off to San Francisco for a few days and the Outdoor Retailer trade show, and then, the European Championships (August 11-17).
EME NEWS ( ) CG SPECIAL
800 m battle, superstars in relays
GLASGOW (GBR): The XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland will host athletics at a raised (by 1.9m), temporary track at Hampden Park, Scotland’s national football stadium. The capacity is about 52 000. The stadium’s record attendance is 149,415 from a Scotland v England football match in 1937. Athletics kicks off with the men’s and women’s marathon on and finishes with the 4x100m relays on . Prepared by Jonathan Phillips.
100m: Richard Thompson is the field’s fastest, but the form is with Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade. Adam Gemili will be Britain’s best hope. Richard Kilty wants to surprise.
200m: Jamaica’s Commonwealth leader Warren Weir should have a good battle with Canada’s Aaron Brown. Jamaican champion Rasheed Dwyer will also be among the top contenders. Frankie Fredericks 19.97 championship record could go if Weir is on form.
400m: Grenada’s Kirani James should add to his impressive tally of titles. He will be challenged by on form African record holder Isaac Maakwala of Botswana. Bahama’s Chris Brown is on form to also make the podium. Kirani is said to be targeting the meet record of 44.52.
800m: Olympic champion David Rudisha will have a tough challengers in Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Kenya’s Ferguson Cheruiyot in what is a very high quality match up. The record of 1:43.22 could go due to Rudisha’s front running style.
1500m: Kenyan champion Ronald Kwemoi could have done the World Juniors, but he is the Commonwealth favourite instead. New Zealand’s Nick Willis may be the most prominent challenger while Monaco pacer James Magut could also make the podium.
5000m: Caleb Ndiku of Kenya is the favourite, his compatriot Isiah Koech is another top contender. Cam Levins of Canada and Andy Vernon will be the top non-African challengers.
10 000m: Former World champion Josphat Bett is the Kenyan champion. Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro is the defending champion. Peter Kirui was 2nd at the Kenyan championships, while Canada’s Cam Levins could also challenge.
Marathon: Kenyans could fill the podium in this event, although Uganda’s Abraham Kiplimo may challenge. Eric Ndiema of Kenya is the favourite. John Kelai will defend his title.
3000mSC: The last time Kenya didn’t win all three medals was in 1990. The main threat to breaking that trend is Canada’s Matt Hughes. But the Kenyan team of Jairus Birech, Ezekiel Kemboi and Jonathan Ndiku is strong.
110mH: Commonwealth leader Hansle Parchment has withdrawn, meaning that this one is wide open. Andrew Ri
ley of Jamaica, England’s Will Sharman and Barbados’ Shane Braithwaite could all top the podium.
400mH: In a repeat of the recent Luzern 400mH, South Africa’s Cornel Fredericks and Jamaica’s Roxroy Cato should fight for gold. Jamaica’s Annsert Whyte was third in Luzern and may finish in a similar spot in Glasgow. Dai Greene is also back.
High Jump: Derek Drouin of Canada is a huge favourite. England’s Tom Parsons’ SB is 11 centimetres behind, but he is the biggest challenger. Michael Mason of Canada is another medal favourite. The record is 226, Drouin’s SB is 240.
Pole Vault: 20 year old Canadian Shawn Barber may be the favourite on current form. He and Steve Lewis should have a good battle. England’s Luke Cutts and Max Eaves and Scotland’s Jax Thoirs should also be in contention for medals, all could win.
Long Jump: Olympic champion Greg Rutherford should win if he has no injury problems. Chris Tomlinson of England and Zarck Visser of South Africa will be strong challengers.
Triple Jump: Arpinder Singh is the list leader due to his Indian national record of 17.17. Phillips Idowu of England and Lathone Collie-Minns of Bahamas have more top results on record and should be strong contenders.
Shot: New Zealand have two top contenders in Tom Walsh and the young Jack Gill. Walsh will start as favourite as he is list leader and is hitting form at the right time. O’Dayne Richards of Jamaica and Tim Nedow of Canada will both be medal favourites. Nigerian youngster Stephen Mozia is also a contender. Walsh could challenge the record of 21.02.
Discus: Benn Harradine of Australia is the reigning champion and has the best SB out of the entrants, although his form has been dipping. This could leave the door open for the top 2 Jamaican’s Jason Morgan and Chad Wright who are experiencing better form. Vikas Gowda of India was 2nd in 2012 and will be another gold medal contender here. Another Australian Julian Wruck also has the potential to win.
Hammer: Canada’s Jim Steacy won silver in 2006, and is favourite for gold here. England’s Nick Miller and Alex Smith are other medal contenders.
Javelin: Kenya and Trinidad and Tobago are set to battle here. Julius Yego and Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott are the top 2 on the top list. Hamish Peacock of Australia and Stuart Farquhar are on form to challenge.
Decathlon: Canadian Damian Warner is the World bronze medallist. Willem Coertzen of South Africa and Ashley Bryant of England are the only Commonwealth athletes to score over 8000 points this year.
4x100m: The eagerly anticipated season’s debut of Usain Bolt. He should start with a win. The English squad should also be strong.
4x400m: Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Great Britain are all contenders.
100m: Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye is the fastest in the field, but there are injury concerns after she pulled up in Lucerne. Two time Olympic champ Veronica Campbell-Brown and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, who is entered to compete in 4 events, are other medal favourites. Debbie Ferguson’s championship record of 10.91 could be in danger.
200m: Okagbare will be the favourite here. 2012’s double World Junior champion Antonique Strachan is the next fastest, but England’s Jodie Williams has been on better recent form.
400m: Botswana’s Amantle Montsho is the defending champion, but her form hasn’t been good in 2014. Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills has taken the Montsho’s mantle as World number 1 this year with good early form, but her compatriot Stephanie McPherson may be peaking in time while William-Mills fades.
800m: Kenya’s World champion Eunice Sum should take the title. Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo should run her close, while there is a big chance of a Scottish medal for Lynsey Sharp.
1500m: It should be a Kenyan 1-2, with Hellen Obiri and Faith Kipyegon. Laura Muir is another Scottish medal prospect. England’s Laura Weightman will also be a medal contender.
5000m: Kenya’s Mercy Cherono and Janet Kisa should be the top 2. England’s 40 year old Jo Pavey and 20 year old Emelia Gorecka should be in the mix for the bronze.
10 000m: World half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat won the Kenyan championships, ahead of Joyce Chepkirui and World Cross Country champion Emily Chebet. All should be strong here. Julia Bleasdale of England is the fastest over the distance this year.
Marathon: The Kenyans should be too strong for the rest. Paris winner champion Flomena Cheyech, Philes Ongori and Caroline Kilel should all contest for the medals.
3000mSC: The form of Kenyan World champion Milcah Chemos is improving and she should successfully defend her title. Her compatriot Purity Kirui will also be a medal favourite, while Australia’s Genevieve Lacaze could also make the podium.
100mH: England’s Tiffany Porter may have a slight edge over defending champion Sally Pearson of Australia.
400mH: Eilidh Child is one of Scotland’s main gold medal hopes but she will have her work cut out by world leader Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica who hasn’t lost over 400mH since her season’s debut. South Africa’s Wenda Nel should be the best of the rest.
High Jump: 18 year old Australian Eleanor Patterson may well be the favourite. She is ranked 2nd in the Commonweath list behind Levern Spencer of St Lucia, but has demonstrated better recent form. 19 year olds Jeannelle Scheper and Leontia Kallenou should fight for bronze.
Pole Vault: Alana Boyd of Australia should successfully defend her title. It could be an Australian 1-2 as 20 year old Liz Parnov could be the best of the rest.
Long Jump: Okagbare will be favourite, if she competes, although England’s Shara Proctor has hit good form and should challenge.
Triple Jump: This should be an open and shut affair for Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams.
Shot: Shot put queen Valerie Adams is another sure winner. Her nearest challenger will be Cleopatra Borel (TTO) who has a SB of 19.10, which Adams has surpassed in every competition this year. The last time Adams recorded a best mark of less than 19.10 in a final was in 2007.
Discus: Australia’s Dani Samuels has thrown further than any other Commonwealth athlete in every competition, bar one, this year. It’s safe to say she is a clear favourite.
s Sultana Frizell should defend her title. Julia Ratcliffe of New Zealand may be the best of the rest, with England’s Sophie Hitchon a likely bronze medallist.
Javelin: Kim Mickle of Australia is the favourite, South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen should push her, while Australia’s Kathryn Mitchell is another gold medal contender if she returns to her SB form of 66 metres.
Heptathlon: Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton won World silver last year and has improved in 2014, making her the woman to beat. It could be a Canadian top 2, with Jessica Zelinka another top favourite.
4x100m: Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce will star in the Jamaican line up that will start as favourites. Trinidad and Tobago, England, Canada and the Bahamas are other top teams.
4x400m: Jamaica and Nigeria look to be the strongest here.