AW collaboration

Although we’re a while away yet from the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, already several sports and athletics disciplines are holding their qualification events.

In football, for example, the United States’ men’s national team will contest their first Games since 2008 in Beijing after qualifying via the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship alongside the Dominican Republic.

Elsewhere, qualification for the skateboarding disciplines – the second time that the sport will be contested at an edition of the Olympic Games – is also underway.

The list of events for Paris has now been confirmed, with one notable debutant and a handful of other sports that will, temporarily perhaps, have to make way.

Competitive breakdancing will make its debut as an Olympic event, to help to attract a younger and more urban audience to the Games. Breaking, as it is often referred to, will be joined on the itinerary by surfing and climbing.

Sadly, some sports have to make way, and in Paris, there will be no place on the schedule for baseball and karate.

As far as athletics is concerned, the traditional 48 disciplines will return – that’s all of the usual track races plus the marathon and walking events on the road, plus the likes of the long jump, pole vault, discus and heptathlon in ‘the field’.

Asher-Smith desperate to make up for lost time

As we draw nearer to the start of the Paris Games, you may notice that the various bookmakers start to offer odds on some of the most popular Olympic disciplines.

The sprint races will be prime candidates for betting odds from the bookies, with this handy article identifying one sportsbook in the American market – BetMGM – that is likely to offer prices for the 100m, 200m and 400m finals. Amongst the favourites in the women’s events will be Dina Asher-Smith, who will probably compete in both the 100m and 200m if she stays fit and injury-free.

The 26-year-old suffered heartache in Tokyo when they were struggling with a hamstring injury. She failed to make the finals of either discipline, but the British speedster has since returned to fitness and is starting to find her best form, too. The reigning 200m world champion was back in the winner’s circle at the Diamond League in June, and while a time of 22.36 is not rapid by her high standards, Asher-Smith will have been buoyed ahead of her world title defence in Oregon in July.

No less a judge than Sally Gunnell, an Olympic gold medallist and world champion in her own right, believes Asher-Smith will ‘be back and be stronger and mentally more prepared for it’ in Paris, and if the sprint queen can continue to shave a few milliseconds from her times, she will surely be amongst the frontrunners for gold in both sprint disciplines.

The Londoner could have some competition from a British team-mate in the 100m, with Daryll Neita posting a quick – albeit wind-assisted – time of 10:80 to defeat Asher-Smith in the UK Championships earlier in the summer.

Who knows – maybe that battle to be crowned Britain’s best will help both Asher-Smith and Neita to Olympic glory in Paris.