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Friday athletics preview

Perfect conditions for track and field action tonight, after last night's blistering world record by David Rudisha and the repeat sprint double from Usian Bolt, what more is in store? I haven't bothered to count my P&L for the athletics part of the Games, it's been a sob story of near misses, so make of this what you will...

Men's Pole Vault

Renaud Lavillenie sets the standard here with a string of wins this year all topping 5.80m. His last month however hasn't been quite so strong with 5.77, 5.73 and 5.40 for best vaults (5.40 at Crystal Palace slightly excusable due to cold, wet weather). He pulled out 5.95 to win the World Indoors this year and 5.97 to win the European Championship, but has yet to better third at a World Championships outdoors. Choker on the big stage or still maturing? He's only 25 and his profile has all been in the right direction (yet to set a new PB in 2012, but this has obviously been the target all year).

I opposed Steve Hooker in Beijing and Berlin and both times he embarrassed me. His battle with the vaulters' version of the yips is well documented, but he has had a couple of 5.72m competitions this year, including a fortnight ago in Poland. Can the euphoria of the Olympics provide the tonic he needs to hit form again? Surely not.

Four guys have cleared 5.90 this season outdoors - Lavillenie, Mohr, Otto and Walker. The two Germans have set their PBs this year, but at the shallow end of the band (5.91 and 5.92 respectively). Walker is erratic, a best of 6.04 but 5.90 a month ago at a training event in the States was his best vault for four years. It's hard to imagine there's room for much higher here.

The Frenchman is the one to beat here, the risk, as with many vaulters, is getting that first clearance under their belts. If you'd like to take insurance, you can bet on him not to get a medal at 7.5 with Totesport.

2pts Lavillenie 2.1 Ladbrokes, bet down to 1.95

Women's 1500m

A shortie in the betting here, Abeba Aregawi who we must be able to find reasons to take on. Best times set in Diamond League events where they use pacemakers. She won the faster semi-final with ease but didn't win from the front, potentially making her vulnerable on tactics. The Turk Asil Cakir Alptekin is next in the market and beat the favourite at their last clash in the Paris Diamond League event. They finished second and third there, with the now exposed drug cheat Mariem Alaoui Selsouli winning the race in the year's best time. has the advantage of a teammate here who could assist with a race strategy if required. Athens silver medallist Tomashova could be the blowout runner if tactics get a little messy. Dobriskey as third fav just looks wrong to me...

1pt win Asil Cakir Alptekin 6 BetVictor, Paddy, Hills
0.1pt win Tomashova 67 general


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