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Wed Apr 23 19:23:56 SAST 2014

Olympics in the final stretch - expect drama

DAVID ISAACSON in London | 08 August, 2012 06:560 Comments
Jamaica's Usain Bolt showboats ahead of his 200m heat at the Olympics yesterday

ONLY five days of the Olympics remain, but they promise to pack plenty of drama.

Caster Semenya swings into action today in the 800m heats, but the real historic moment will come tomorrow night.

Usain Bolt will attempt to become the first man to retain the Olympic 200m crown. Of course, a win means he would also be the first man to retain the 100m and 200m double.

Carl Lewis defended his 100m crown in 1988, but took silver in the 200m.

Tomorrow, South Africa has no fewer than two medal hopes, in Bridgitte Hartley in the women's K1 500m kayak sprint, and Sunette Viljoen in the women's javelin. Semenya is scheduled to compete in the semifinals.

Friday sees Troy Prinsloo in action in the men's 10km open water swim, while Sifiso Nhlapo is looking for belated silverware in the BMX, having crashed off his bike in the final in Beijing four years ago.

Bolt returns to action on Saturday, this time in the 4x100m relay final. Jamaica will be favourites to retain the title they won in Beijing, but the Americans will surely try their utmost.

Semenya will hopefully be in the women's 800m final, which promises to be a tough race. The field is likely to include defending champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya, Ethiopian newcomer Fantu Magiso and Russia's world champion Mariya Savinova - and the frightening aspect is that there are a few other runners capable of winning this contest.

For the British fans, however, the race of the night could be the men's 5000m, where 10000m champion Mo Farah will seek to add more silverware to his trophy cabinet.

The men's marathon brings the curtain down on the Olympics on Sunday, but only just. The first mountain bike racer will probably cross the line about 20 minutes or so before the marathon victor does.

South Africa is well represented in both races, but the odds are that it will get a cycling medal, courtesy of Burry Stander.

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Olympics in the final stretch - expect drama

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Wed Apr 23 19:23:57 SAST 2014 ::