LONDON- Kenya’s world and Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop will defend his 1500 metres title on Tuesday, hoping to fend off in-form Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi and lead a Kenyan clean sweep in the evening’s showcase track race.
Usain Bolt, on a mission to secure legendary status as the greatest sprinter of all time, will be back on the track and looking to ease through 200 metres sprint heats after an emphatic 100m win on Sunday.
The women’s 100 metres hurdles medal decider and the men’s high jump final promise another tantalising night of drama in London’s Olympic stadium after unstoppable Caribbean runners stole the show again on Monday night.
Hosts Britain – gunning for their best medal haul in more than a century – will look to their cyclists to challenge for yet more gold in the velodrome.
Monday night saw a tearful Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic recapturing the Olympic 400 metres hurdles title at the ripe age of 34, eight years after he first won it.
“A lot of people said I should retire but I stuck with it,” said Sanchez. After finishing, he took out and kissed a picture of his grandmother Lillian, who died during the Beijing Games.
Youth won the day in the men’s 400 metres, with Grenada’s 19-year-old world champion Kirani James dominating to take his nation’s first Olympic gold. Sanchez’s compatriot Luguelin Santos, also just 19, took silver.
“It is probably crazy at home right now, there is probably a huge party in the streets,” a jubilant James – nicknamed “The Jaguar” – told reporters.
NO GOLDEN TREBLE
Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, bidding for a third successive gold medal in the women’s pole vault, could only manage bronze behind Jennifer Suhr of the United States, who went one better than her silver medal in Beijing, and Yarisley Silva of Cuba.
Isinbayeva never looked comfortable on a chilly, rainy evening, ending 5 cm short of her rivals.
Russian world champion Yuliya Zaripova won the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase, storming over the line well clear of Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi and Ethiopia’s Sofia Assefa.
“It was easy to win this gold, I was very confident about winning. I’m very good at steeplechase,” she grinned.
Away from the athletics stadium, South Korea and Brazil celebrated their first ever gold medals in gymnastics.
Yang Hak-seon won the men’s vault with the spectacular triple-twisting front somersault that he invented, and Brazil’s Arthur Zanetti flexed his bulging biceps to topple China’s 2008 Olympic champion Chen Yibing in the men’s rings.
Omid Noroozi became Iran’s second winner in two days in wrestling, and waiter Giovanni Cernogoraz served up a gold for Croatia in the men’s trap shooting event.
Kenya’s Kiprop, the world’s fastest man over 1500m this year, will have one thing on his mind in London – to win the event properly. The world champion has often expressed his dissatisfaction at taking Olympic gold in Beijing after Rashid Ramzi was stripped of his title for a doping offence.
Algeria’s Makhloufi, who beat Kiprop in Sunday’s semi-final, was provisionally thrown out of the Games for not trying hard enough in an 800m heat on Tuesday, but was later reinstated.
Makhloufi had not planned to compete in the heats, but the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said his team had failed to withdraw him in time and he had to run.
When he stepped off the track, after jogging round for half a lap, the athletics referee disqualified him from all further events for not making a bona fide effort. His team said he had a knee injury and the IAAF eventually overturned the ban.
Women’s 100m hurdles world champion Sally Pearson is favourite to improve on the silver she took in Beijing.
The Australian, who has run the event’s fastest time since 1992 (12.28 seconds), will face competition from American duo Lolo Jones, who stumbled in the final while favourite in Beijing, and defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper.
Britain’s decorated trio of power cyclists Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott will look to cement the hosts’ dominance in the velodrome.
After 10 days of competition, China lead the overall medals table with 31 golds, with the United States close behind on 29.
Britain lie third with 18 after wins in team show jumping and for Jason Kenny in Monday’s track cycling sprint.