World record-holders Eliud Kipchoge, Brigid Kosgei, Yohan Diniz and Yang Jiayu are among the athletes bidding for gold on the roads

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Men’s Marathon (07.00 August 8 (23.00 BST August 7))

Traditionally an event which is hard to predict, it has been more clear-cut in recent years thanks to Eliud Kipchoge’s dominance. This summer’s contest looks far more open and should be between Kenya and Ethiopia. Japan will also have high high hopes but their best three of the moment aren’t necessarily competing due to a curious selection policy. American hope Galen Rupp, the Rio bronze medallist, qualified from a February 2020 trial. No nation has dominated throughout Olympic history with Ethiopia’s four titles top of the list.

2016 Olympic champion: Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 2:09:44
Olympic record holder: Samuel Wanjiru (KEN) 2:06:32 2008
2019 World champion: Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 2:10:30
World record-holder: Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 2:01:39 2018
World leader: Titus Ekiru (KEN) 2:02:57

British interest: A lightly-raced Callum Hawkins, who will be out to gain his fourth global top 10 heads the team along with evergreen trials winner Chris Thompson and Ben Connor. The latter pair will finish much higher than their ranking suggests which is a respective 138th and 175th on 2021 times but take out all the non-competing Kenyan and Ethiopians then a top 20 may be possible if they hold back initially.

Top 10 entries on 2020-2021 performances:
2:03:04 Lawrence Cherono KEN Valencia 6 Dec 20
2:03:30 Amos Kipruto KEN Valencia 6 Dec 20
2:04:30 Eliud Kipchoge KEN Enschede 18 Apr 21
2:04:49 Bashir Abdi BEL Tokyo 1 Mar 20
2:04:51 Sisay Lemma ETH Tokyo 1 Mar 20
2:04:55 Gabriel Gerald Geay TAN Milan 16 May 21
2:05:29 Suguru Osako JPN Tokyo 1 Mar 20
2:05:41 Tola Shura Kitata ETH London 4 Oct 20
2:05:53 Oqbe Kibrom Ruesom ERI Valencia 6 Dec 20
2:06:18 Othmane El Goumri MAR Ampugnano 11 Apr 21

Top contenders:
Eliud Kipchoge (KEN): The world record-holder and defending champion suffered a rare loss in London last year. He was back to winning ways in Enschede but has shown he can be beaten which did not look the case in Rio. Kipchoge won bronze at 5000m in 2004 and silver in 2008 so already has a full set of medals.
Lelisa Desisa (ETH): The world champion and former New York winner was only 35th in Valencia and was beaten in the Ethiopian Trials and has not ranked in the top 200 on times for the last three seasons but he does have a proven championships record and a strong finish.
Shura Kitata (ETH): Though he has only just turned 25, the 2020 London winner also has won Rome and Frankfurt and been second in New York and he won the Ethiopian trials held over 35km at high altitude.
Lawrence Cherono (KEN): The 2019 Boston and Chicago winner has not competed since a 2:03:04 second place in Valencia last December which was his only race in 2020.
Outside bet: Suguru Osako (JPN): The Japanese team was effectively (and bizarrely) chosen from a 2019 race in Tokyo won in 2:11 and it was the third athlete there who looks the best bet as he has since run a 2:05:29 Japanese record in 2020 and 27:56.44 for 10,000m in May. With a 27:36.93 PB and a 7:40.09 3000m PB he has the speed to challenge the very best.

Prediction:
1 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 2:06:01 (WA ranking 9)
2 Suguru Osako (JPN) 2:06:20 (90)
3 Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 2:06:36 (10)
4 Shura Kitata (ETH) 2:06:55 (71)
5 Lawrence Cherono (KEN) 2:07:03 (3)
6 Galen Rupp (USA) 2:07:12 (NR)
7 Sisay Lemma (ETH) 2:07:13 (6)
8 Amos Kipruto (KEN) 2:08:15 (7)
9 Bashir Abdi (BEL) 2:08:17 (16)
10 Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR) 2:08:20 (8)
11 Callum Hawkins (GBR) 2:08:36 (73)
12 Gabriel Gerald Geay (TAN) 2:08:51 (NR)

Callum Hawkins

Other contenders:
El Hassan El Abbassi (BRN) (21)
Stephen Mokoka (RSA) (42)
Tadesse Abraham (SUI) (54)
Abdi Naeeye (NED) (57)
Koen Naert (BEL) (61)
Felix Chemonges (UGA) (78)
Alemu Bekele (BRN) (82)
Yuma Hattori (JPN) (83)

Absent:
Birhanu Legese (ETH (1)
Evans Chebet (KEN (2)
Mosinet Geremew (ETH) (4)
Vincent Kipchumba (KEN) (5)
Mathew Kisorio (KEN) (11)
Leul Gebresilase (ETH) (12)
Dawit Wolde (ETH) (13)
Tsedat Aya(ETH) (14)
Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) (29)
Titus Eriku (KEN) (33)
Mo Farah (GBR) (79)

20km walk (16.30 August 5 (08:30 BST))

Japan and China look like they have the strongest trios and it is Toshikazu Yamanishi who will start as favourite though it won’t be as hot as it was in Doha where the times looked more akin to a women’s race than a men’s. The Soviets top the gold lists with four.

2016 Olympic champion: Zhen Wang (CHN) 1:19:14
Olympic record-holder: Ding Chen (CHN) 1:18:46 2012
2019 World champion: Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN) 1:26:34
World record-holder: Yusuke Suzuki (JPN) 1:16:36 2015
World leader: Wang Kaihua (CHN) 1:16:54

British interest: Tom Bosworth was sixth in Rio after leading much of the first half but hasn’t shown the same form in 2021 after missing some preparation and trials winner Callum Wilkinson might push him close.

Top 10 entries on 2021 performances:
1:16:54 Wang Kaihua CHN Huangshan 20 Mar
1:17:20 Toshikazu Yamanishi JPN Kobe 21 Feb
1:17:39 Cai Zelin CHN Huangshan 20 Mar
1:17:39 Zhang Jun CHN Huangshan 20 Mar
1:18:04 Eiki Takahashi JPN Kobe 21 Feb
1:18:42 Salih Korkmaz TUR Antalya 6 Mar
1:18:45 Vasiliy Mizinov RUS Sochi 19 Feb
1:18:45 Koki Ikeda JPN Kobe 21 Feb
1:18:45 Perseus Karlström SWE Murcia 14 Mar
1:19:14 Álvaro Martín ESP Podébrady 16 May

Top contenders:
Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN): The world champion won the Japanese title in a fast 1:17:20 and starts favourite but will be under huge pressure.
Wang Kaihua (CHN): The Chinese champion and world leader has only been seventh and eighth in the last two world championships so doubts remain about his big race temperament.
Vasiliy Mizinov (ANA): The Doha runner-up who is still only 23 years old achieved a Russian title win in 1:18:45 in February.
Outside bet: Perseus Karlström (SWE): He failed to finish in Rio and his times don’t compare with the Chinese and Japanese but a good competitor and was third in Doha.

Prediction:
1 Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN) 1:17:25 (WA ranking 1)
2 Wang Kaihua (CHN)  1:17:40 (7)
3 Vasiliy Mizinov (ANA) 1:18:15 (5)
4 Perseus Karlstrom (SWE) 1:18:16 (2)
5 Eiki Takahashi (JPN) 1:18:30 (10)
6 Koki Ikeda (JPN) 1:18:45 (8)
7 Cai Zelin (CHN) 1:18:53 (14)
8 Zhang Jun (CHN) 1;18:56 (34)
9 Álvaro Martín (ESP) 1;19:10 (4)
10 Diego García Carrera (ESP) 1:19:11 (3)
11 Salih Korkmaz (TUR) 1:20:05 (11)
12 Tom Bosworth (GBR) 1:20:08 (40)

Toshikazu Yamanishi (Mark Shearman)

Other contenders:
Massimo Stano (ITA) (9)
Caio Bonfim (BRA) (12)
Eider Arévalo (COL) (13)
Christopher Linke (GER) (15)
Miguel Lopez (ESP) (18)
Andrés Olivas (MEX) (20)
Nils Brembech (GER) (22)
Callum Wilkinson (GBR) (24)
Gabriel Bordier (FRA) (25)

Absent:
Yusuke Suzuki (JPN) (7)
Isami Fujisawa (JPN) (16)
Tomohiro Noda (JPN) (19)

50km walk (05.30 August 6 (21.30 BST August 5))

Even though world champion Yusuke Suzuki is absent, Japan still have a very strong trio with home eyes now primarily focused on the chances of Satoshi Maruo. Britain, Italy, Poland and Germany each share three titles as the most successful nation in the very last Olympic event at the distance.

2016 Olympic champion: Matej Toth (SVK) 3:40:58
Olympic record-holder: Jared Tallent (AUS) 3:36:53 2012
2019 World champion: Yusuke Suzuki (JPN) 4:04:20
World record-holder: Yohan Diniz (FRA) 3:32:33 2014
World leader: Satoshi Maruo (JPN) 3:38:42

British interest: The British invitations to Dominic King and Cameron Corbishley were turned down by British athletics so sadly there will be no GB involvement in the last ever Olympic 50km.

Top 10 entries on 2021 performances:
3:38:42 Satoshi Maruo JPN Wajima 11 Apr
3:42:34 Hayato Katsuki JPN Wajima 11 Apr
3:43:44 Jonathan Hilbert GER Frankfurt 10 Apr
3:46:28 Maryan Zakalnytskyy UKR Antalya 6 Mar
3:46:51 Luo Yadong CHN Huangshan 21 Mar
3:47:01 Bernando Uriel Barrondo GUA Dudince 20 Mar
3:47:35 Wang Qin CHN Huangshan 21 Mar
3:47:40 Marc Tur ESP Podébrady 16 May
3:47:56 Claudio Villanueva ECU Seville 14 Feb
3:47:56 Bian Tongda CHN Huangshan 21 Mar

Top contenders:
Satoshi Maruo (JPN): He easily tops the world lists with his 3:38:42 but is only major championships experience is a fourth place in the 2017 London World Championships.
Masatora Kawano (JPN): He has not contested a 50km in two years but that one was the fastest in the world in 2019 (3:36:45) and still only aged 21 he could be ready to go much faster. Did complete a 20km walk in March to confirm good fitness.
Matej Toth (SVK): The 38 year-old defending champion and former world champion dropped out of Doha and has not shown his very best form in recent years but he remains a fearless competitor.
Luo Yadong (CHN): The Doha fifth-placer won the Chinese Championships in 3:46:51 in March and should lead the Chinese who have surprisingly only won one medal at this event.
Yohann Diniz (FRA): The world record-holder did win a world title in London in 2017 but has not competed at all since dropping out of the 50km in Doha so his form will be a mystery.

Outside bet: Evan Dunfee (CAN): on times alone the Canadian wouldn’t be considered a factor but competitively strong with third in Doha after a fourth in Rio which was his last 50km almost two years ago.

Prediction:
1 Masatora Kawano (JPN) 3:35:50 (WA ranking 5)
2 Satoshi Maruo (JPN) 3:35:56 (3)
3 Hayato Katsuki (JPN) 3:39:20 (11)
4 Evan Dunfee (CAN) 3:40:01 (14)
5 Yohann Diniz (FRA) 3:40:25 (7)
6 Matej Toth (SVK) 3:40:35 (15)
7 Luo Yadong (CHN) 3:40:47 (16)
8 Joao Vieira (POR) 3:42:35 (2)
9 Havard Haukenes (NOR) 3:43:00 (8)
10 Maryan Zakalnytskyy (UKR) 3:43:15 (6)
11 Dzmitry Dziubin (BLR) 3:43:45 (4)
12 Rafał Augustyn (POL) 3:44:00 (18)

Other contenders:
Marc Tur (ESP) (19)
Qin Wang (CHN) (20)
Carl Dohmann (GER) (21)
Claudio Villanueva (ECU) (22)
Brendan Boyce (IRL) (23)
Horacia Nava (MEX) (24)
Rhydian Cowley (AUS) (25)
Bernando Uriel Barrondo (GUA) (26)
Artur Brzozski (POL) (28)
Isaac Palma (MEX) (29)
Aleksi Ojala (FIN) (30)

Absent:
Niu Wenbin (CHN) (9)
Kai Kobayashi (JPN) (10)
Isamu Fujisawa (JPN) (12)
Hiroki Arai (JPN) (13)

Women
Marathon (07.00 August 7 (23.00 BST August 6))

On paper Kenya have one of the strongest trios ever to grace an Olympic marathon  and the Ethiopian opposition just doesn’t look at the same level. Both Japan and Ethiopia have previously won two gold medals.

2016 Olympic champion: Jemima Sumgong (KEN) 2:24:04
2019 World champion: Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 2:32:43
World record-holder: Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 2:14:04 2019
Olympic record-holder: Tiki Galana (ETH) 2:23:07 2012
World leader: Hiwot Gebrekidan (ETH) 2:19:35

British interest: Trials winner Stephanie Davis is the athlete in form while Steph Twell and Jess Piesecki complete a British trio which, while on times won’t rank highly, will be hoping to move through the field as the race progresses although it will probably require a sub 2:25 (or equivalent if hot and humid) just to make the top dozen with a place among the top half-dozen Europeans probably more likely.

Top 10 entries on 2020-2021 performances:
2:17:16 Peres Jepchirchir KEN Valencia 6 Dec 20
2:17:45 Lonah Chemtai Salpeter ISR Tokyo 1 Mar 20
2:18:35 Birhane Dibaba ETH Tokyo 1 Mar 20
2:18:58 Brigid Kosgei KEN London 4 Oct 20
2:19:52 Helaria Johannes NAM Valencia 6 Dec 20
2:19:56 Tigist Girma ETH Valencia 6 Dec 20
2:20:29 Mao Ichiyama JPN Nagoya 8 Mar 20
2:22:05 Ruth Chepngetich KEN London 4 Oct 20
2:23:13 Juliet Chekwel UGA Seville 23 Feb 20
2:23:30 Honami Maeda JPN Osaka 31 Jan 21

Top contenders:
Brigid Kosgei (KEN): The world record-holder: last lost a marathon in London 2018 and has looked unbeatable over 26.2 miles since but her only race in 2021 was a below par 66:01 fifth-place at the Istanbul Half-marathon.
Peres Jepchirchir (KEN): The double world half-marathon champion won Valencia in 2:17:16 in December and has been in training since.
Ruth Chepngetich (KEN): The world champion was only third in the London Marathon in October but a 64:02 half-marathon world record in Istanbul in April shows what cracking form she is in.

Outside bet: Tigist Girma (ETH). The Ethiopian trials winner has won little else of note and was only fifth in her two marathons in 2020 in Tokyo and Valencia but has run sub 2:20s in her last three marathons.

Brigid Kosgei (Mark Shearman)

Prediction:
1 Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 2:20:45 (WA ranking 3)
2 Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 2:20:48 (1)
3 Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 2:21:05 (12)
4 Tigist Girma (ETH) 2:22:40 (21)
5 Birhane Dibaba (ETH) 2:23:17 (8)
6 Rosa Dereze (ETH) 2:23:35 (9)
7 Mao Ichiyama (JPN) 2:23:50 (13)
8 Helalia Johannes (NAM) 2:24:01 (11)
9 Honami Maeda (JPN) 2:24:15 (81)
10 Lonah Salpeter (ISR) 2:24:35 (2)
11 Ayuko Suzuki (JPN) 2:25:01 (NR)
12 Juliet Chekwel (UGA) 2:25:12 (80)

Other contenders:
Volha Mazuronak (BLR) (31)
Mimi Belete (BRN) (39)
Zhixuan Li (CHN) (75)
Eva Vrabcova Nyvltona (CZE) (89)
Sinead Diver (AUS) (92)
Alphine Tuliamuk (USA) (94)

Absent:
Mizuki Matsuda (JPN) (4)
Worknesh Degafa (ETH) (5)
Ashete Bekere (ETH) (6)
Joyciline Jepkosgei(KEN) (7)
Degitu Azimeraw (ETH) (10)
Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) (19)

20km walk (Final: 16.30 August 6 (08.30 BST))

So far in the seven Olympic walks it’s three-all between China and Russia. China will surely make it four in Tokyo and only the judges can prevent a clean sweep with defending champion and world champion Liu Hong and world record -holder Yang Jiayu forming a strong Chinese challenge.

2016 Olympic champion: Liu Hong (CHN) 1:28:35
2019 World champion: Liu Hong (CHN) 1:32:53
World record-holder:  Yelena Lashmanova (RUS) 1:23:39 2018
Olympic record-holder: Yelena Lashmanova (RUS) 1:25:02 2012
World leader: Yang Jiayu (CHN) 1:23:49

British interest: No Britons achieved the standard.

Top contenders:
Yang Jiayu (CHN): The 2017 world champion was disqualified in Doha but has bounced back with a stunning world record in March.
Liu Hong (CHN): The defending champion is also the world champion and though she set a PB in March (1:24:27), she was well beaten by her compatriot.
Qieyang Shenjie (CHN): The runner-up in London 2012 and in Doha was fifth in Rio and should complete the clean sweep.
Elvira Khasanova (ANA): Only third in the Russian Championships but the 20-year-old, who was a former world youth medallist was given one of the highly prized Authorised Neutral Athlete spot presumably based on her greater potential.

Outside bet: Antonella Palmisano (ITA): The 2017 world bronze medallist was fourth in Rio and won the European Cup race in May to suggest she will be the best of the rest.

Top 10 entries on 2021 performances:
1:23:49 Yang Jiayu CHN Huangshan 20 Mar
1:24:27 Liu Hong CHN Huangshan 20 Mar
1:24:45 Qieyang Shenjie CHN Huangshan 20 Mar
1:27:13 Elvira Khasanova ANA Sochi 19 Feb
1:27:42 Antonella Palmisano ITA Podébrady 16 May
1:28:03 Mária Pérez ESP Podébrady 16 May
1:28:07 Laura García-Caro ESP Podébrady 16 May
1:28:24 Sandra Arenas COL La Coruña 5 Jun
1:28:37 Raquel González ESP Podébrady 16 May
1:28:39 Eleonora Giorgi ITA Grottaglie 7 Mar

Yang Jiayu (Mark Shearman)

Prediction:
1 Yang Jiayu (CHN) 1:23:35 (WA ranking 2)
2 Liu Hong (CHN) 1:23:45 (1)
3 Qieyang Shenjie (CHN) 1:24:31 (3)
4 Antonella Palmisano (ITA) 1:26:48 (20)
5 Sandra Arenas (COL) 1:27:25 (6)
6 Elvira Khasanova (ANA) 1:27:48 (NR)
7 Erica Rocha de Sena (BRA) 1:28:02 (7)
8 Maria Perez (ESP) 1:28:05 (5)
9 Raquel González (ESP) 1:28:16 (16)
10 Valeria Ortuna (MEX) 1:28:40 (65)
11 Eleonora Giorgi (ITA) 1:28:45 (19)
12 Glenda Estefanía Morejón (ECU) 1:28:49 (4)

Other contenders:
Kumiko Okada (JPN) (10)
Laura-Garcia-Caro (ESP) (11)
Jemima Montag (AUS) (12)
Alegna Gonzalez (MEX) (13)
Kimberly Garcia Leon (PER) (15)
Katie Hayward (AUS) (17)
Nanako Fujii (JPN) (21)
Ana Cabecinha (POR) (22)
Ayse Tekdal (TUR) (23)
Karla Jaramillo (ECU) (24)
Lyudmyla Olyanovska (UKR) (26)

Absent:
Yang Liuying (CHN) (8)
Ma Zhenxia (CHN) (9)

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