How the Bookies See it
200m Winner: Usain Bolt (JAM) 1/50, Andre De Grasse (CAN) 16/1, LaShawn Merritt (USA) 40/1 - Ladbrokes
Top 3 Finish: Usain Bolt (JAM) 1/500, Andre De Grasse (CAN) 1/12, LaShawn Merritt (USA) 1/4 - Coral
New World Record: No 1/8, Yes 9/2 - Bet365
Usain Bolt clocked 19.89 seconds to win the 200m at the London Anniversary Games last month and has looked at his imperious best so far at Rio 2016. He appeared to jog to victory in his 100m semi-final in 9.86 seconds and put his failure to go significantly quicker in the final down to the fast turnaround between races. He will have a day’s rest before the 200m final and has tantalisingly told fans that he is ‘going to leave it all on the track’ in an effort to beat his own mark of 19.19 seconds.
Justin Gatlin took the silver medal in the 100m and was also second behind Bolt in both of the sprint events at last year’s world championships. He has run 19.75 seconds for the 200m this year and was expected to compete for a medal, before surprisingly failing to make it through from his semi-final. Yohan Blake, who has run the second-fastest 200m in history but has been ravaged by injuries over the past couple of years, also missed out on a place in the final.
LaShawn Merritt holds the fastest 200m time of 2016 at 19.74 seconds. The 400m specialist has the endurance to come through quickly in the closing stages and could push for silver. Andre De Grasse has emerged as perhaps the most likely man to challenge Bolt after taking bronze in the 100m and setting a new Canadian record in the 200m semi-finals.
Among the outside contenders is Great Britain’s Adam Gemili, another man who has been hit by injuries in recent years. He ran a season’s best of 20.07 seconds at the London Anniversary Games and has previously dipped under 20 seconds. If he can do so again, he could perhaps push for a medal.
Unless Bolt false starts or falls flat on his face, this is a one-horse race and he is likely to win by a considerable margin. The world record, set back in Berlin in 2009, will clearly take some beating, but he is right to be confident. This is a very fast track and has already produced one world record, when South African Wayde van Niekerk set a time of 43.03 seconds in the 400m. Van Niekerk’s performance threatened to upstage Bolt, who will be determined to lay down his own marker.
The 24-hour rest before the final will allow Bolt to run his hardest, although he says he will have to improve on a 'lazy' run in the semi-finals, when he still set a time of 19.79 seconds.. One factor outside of his control will be the weather, which has been changeable so far, and if there is torrential rain like there was in the Monday evening session a new personal best will probably be out of the question. He would not be speaking about a new world record if he didn’t feel in good enough shape, though, and odds of 9/2 on that occurring look extremely tempting.
In the likely race for silver, Merritt and De Grasse will fancy their chances in the absence of Gatlin and Blake, while Britain’s Gemili could just be worth a punt at 16/1 with Coral to finish in the top three.
- Sports.net’s top tip: A new world record to be set - 9/2 at Bet365
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.
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