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Bolt takes centre stage as Aussie medal hopes dry up

Sun, Aug 14, 12:44pm by Staff Writer

Usain Bolt has history at his mercy on Monday morning when he goes for a third consecutive gold medal in the 100m sprint.

Bolt is the most famous Olympian of them all at the moment and should he win when the final is held at 11:25am AEST on Monday morning, he will be crowned the greatest sprinter of all time, if he doesn’t already own that title.

In an era where athletics has been overshadowed by doping scandals, Bolt has stood out like a beacon, dominating both the 100m and 200m ever since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The only time he has not held a world and Olympic title since 2008 was when he was disqualified from the 100m in the 2011 world championships for false starting.

This is to be his Olympic swansong and he is $1.40 favourite (with Sportsbet) to win the 100m, while he is even shorter ($1.25) to win the 200m later in the week.

His 100m heat win was authoritative, perhaps not as authoritative as he has previously been, but he looked better than his major rival in Justin Gatlin, who is $3.75 to cause an upset. Both men have to get through the semi-finals which starts around 10am AEST.

Yohan Blake, Bolt’s compatriot who won that 2011 world 100m title, is third pick on $15, while the rest of the field are $26 or longer.

The other major track final in the men’s 400m which goes at 11am with Grenada’s reigning Olympic champion Kirani James a $2 favourite, just ahead of South Africa’s Wade van Niekirk ($2.75) and American LaShawn Merritt ($5).

On a day where there is a paucity of genuine Australian medal hopes, three Australian women will compete in the women’s marathon, Lisa Weightman ($101), Jess Trengove ($251) and Milly Clark ($501). As expected, the market is dominated by African runners with Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba ($4) favourite ahead of Kenyan pair Jemina Sumgong ($4.50) and Helah Kiprop ($6). The marathon starts at 10:30pm AEST.

The other athletics gold to be awarded on Day 9 is in the women’s triple jump where there are no Aussies, but there is a short-priced favourite in Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen ($1.25).

At the velodrome, Australian Glenn O’Neill is fourth favourite for gold in the men’s Omnium, which is settled across three different disciplines from 5:40am. O’Neill is $7, with Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria a $3.25 favourite and British superstar Mark Cavendish second pick at $4.50.

Great Britain are guaranteed gold in the men’s sprint, with Jason Kenny ($1.36) and Callum Skinner ($2.70) battling it out for gold. Australian Matt Glaetzer will ride off for the bronze medal.

Marcus Fraser has given Aussie golf fans a thrilling run over the first three rounds but he is now $21 to win gold having fallen three shots off the pace set by Justin Rose ($2.10) and two behind Henrik Stenson ($2.10). Fraser is still $2.63 to win a medal which seems good value considering he is three shots clear of the fourth placed trio of Bubba Watson, Emiliano Grillo and David Lingmerth.

The Kookaburras have endured an up and down first week of competition in the men’s hockey but must leave their inconsistency behind in do-or-die clash with the Netherlands in a match which starts at 7am.

Australia are still second favourites to win gold ($4), despite finishing third in their group, with the Dutch now $5 and Germany $3.60.

The Boomers play Venezuela (at 8am AEST) in their final group match where they can wrap up second spot on the table where they will play the third tram from Group B in the quarters.

There are also Aussies going for gold in the diving in the women’s 3m springboard final and the shooting in the 50m rifle 3 positions.

Best Bet: Marcus Fraser at $2.63 to win a medal in the men’s golf

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