One year from today, at about 7:20am local time, the first athletics champion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be crowned.
It will be the first of 48 sets of medals that will be awarded during the track and field programme of the Games, spanning 10 days of action. Here are some of the expected highlights from each of those 10 days.
Given the host nation’s traditional strength in the men’s 20km race walk, there’s a good chance that one of the first athletes to cross the finish line near Tokyo’s Imperial Palace will be Japanese. That’s the tone locals hope will be set as the Japanese capital hosts the Olympics for the second time.
Later that evening, the first of the Games’ ten-day athletics programme, will conclude at about 21:20, when the winner of the men’s 10,000m will cross the line. Ugandan duo Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo could potentially line up against Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto and Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega.
The evening session will crown the first field event champion, with the men’s discus final taking the early spotlight. Sweden’s Daniel Stahl and Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres have dominated the event this year, but the winners of the past two global titles have been something of a surprise.
Moments later, the inaugural mixed 4x400m relay champion will be decided, followed by the crowning of the world’s fastest woman in the 100m final that caps the evening at the Olympic stadium. After winning in 2008 and 2012, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could make history by becoming the first woman to win three Olympic 100m gold medals.
The day will get underway at 6am with the women’s marathon and will be capped with the shortest event on the athletics programme, the men’s 100m final.
Three other titles will be decided between then, including the women’s triple jump where IAAF Athlete of the Year Caterine Ibarguen hopes to defend her title against world champion Yulimar Rojas.
The men’s long jump and women’s 100m hurdles will be decided in the morning session, while the evening session includes the women’s 5000m, which could feature the likes of Kenya’s Hellen Obiri, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands.
On the infield, Sandra Perkovic could create history by becoming the first woman to win three successive Olympic titles in the discus.
If recent results from Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba, USA’s Rai Benjamin and Norway’s Karsten Warholm are anything to go by, the men’s 400m hurdles final, held on the morning of day five, could be one of the best events of the Games.
Four more titles will be decided in the evening, including the men’s pole vault. Given the current quality of the event, it could take a six-metre clearance to merely land on the podium.
In a rare treat for fans of the combined events, competition in both the decathlon and heptathlon gets underway on the same day, giving the world’s best all-around athletes the spotlight for much of two days.
Kevin Mayer of France could be one of several world record-holders in action on this day as USA’s Dalilah Muhammad and Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech could feature in the women’s 400m hurdles and women’s steeplechase finals respectively.
Again, much of the focus will fall on the combined events, with the crowning of the heptathlon and decathlon champions to cap the evening.
One of the other big highlights of the day will be the men’s 400m final, which will become all the more fascinating if South Africa’s world record-holder Wayde van Niekerk is able to defend his title against rising US stars Fred Kerley and Michael Norman.
Following the women’s 20km race walk in the morning, six more titles will be decided in the evening, including both 4x100m finals.
After taking silver at the 2016 Olympics and bronze at the 2017 World Championships, Japan will be hoping the home crowd can help lift them to the top of the podium.
The longest discipline on the programme, the men’s 50km race walk, gets underway at 5:30am, the earliest start on the programme, but fans will turn out to cheer on the likes of world silver medallist Hirooki Arai.
Action in the stadium will conclude in the evening with six more titles decided, capped with both the men’s and women’s 4x400m.
The men’s marathon concludes the athletics programme on the final day of the Games. Eliud Kipchoge’s triumph in Rio was one of the most memorable moments of the 2016 Games, but the 26.2-mile race in the capital of marathon-crazy Japan could be even more spectacular.
Fonte Oficial: IAAF.
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