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Monday athletics previews

Form not so hot at the moment, (from me anyway, the guests are in great form), so focus more on the reasoning and make your own decisions - which, to be honest, you should really do anyway, with every tipster....

Women's Pole Vault

One of my favourite events to bet on here. As a recent inclusion to the athletics programme, it's still on an upward curve for performance so records go faster than any other track & field event.

I have been keen to oppose Isinbayeva, she has hardly competed outdoor this season, including a no-height result at the Monaco Diamond League just a fortnight ago. But in qualifying, she cruised through with no failures and looks to be in good nick. If she gets anywhere her winning vaults in Athens (4.91m) and Beijing (5.05m), she wins. She has 26 of the top 33 outdoor jumps in women's pole vault history, but hasn't gone higher than 4.76 outdoors for two years, part of which is down to a hiatus caused by a loss of confidence, which led to no-height results in 2009 WC and 2010 World Indoors. Her best sign of form has been indoors where she has cleared 4.85m every year since 2004 and broke 5m in February. If you are going to lay her, I suggest doing it heavier in the Top 3/Medals market than for the Gold. She tends to be a boom or bust competitor, there are few placings amongst her failures. If she's going to fail, chances are it will be early.

With Feofanova, Murer and Pyrek missing out in qualifying, a few of the main rivals are out of contention, but only Murer had recorded any sort of competitive height this season. The only women with two results in the outdoor top 10 for the year are Silke Speigelburg of Germany and TeamGB's Holly Bleasdale. Before you Brits get your hopes too high, the German posted 4.82 and 4.76, Bleasdale only 4.71 and 4.70, though indoor she did clear 4.87 this year, 15cm more than her next best!

I like Spiegelburg. She has recorded three of her best four results this year and won the last Diamond League event in Monaco coming into the Games. With the exception of the European Championships this year, her vaulting has been consistently high class, we'll get a great run for our money at 5/1.

For the Aussies, Alana Boyd only scraped through qualifying, she needs to find her best form from Perth in January if she is to have any chance of a medal.

BETS

Lay Isinbayeva for a medal around 1.2 (market weak at the moment, you might have to offer), risking half a unit.

Back Speigelburg at 7 BetFred, Sportingbet UK (bet down to 5.5)

Women's Shot Put

Absolute two-horse race here between Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus and Valerie Adams of New Zealand. Ostapchuk set a qualifying record for any major championship, recording 20.76m with her first put. She has recorded many 21m+ puts before, but none outside her homeland, which makes you think there's something up with the measuring devices over there or the home cooking is a bit suspicious. Adams has produced her best all over the world and has beaten the Belarussian eight times in a row according to my database (IAAF preview says nine), by an average of 60cm.

Betfair has it priced 5/6 and 6/5 (1.83 and 2.20), I'm happy to take Adams at that price and see the Kiwis extend their gold medal gap over Australia by one more!

BETS

2pts Adams 1.8 Bet365 and Sportingbet (bet down to 1.72)

Other Events

Kirani James should win the 400m easily as the price suggests, and no opinion on the men's 400m hurdles or women's 3000m steeplechase.

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