Picks Robert Harting to win men’s discus

The American athletics magazine, Track & Field News, has put woman discus thrower Krishna Poonia at ninth place in its forecasts for the London Olympic Games.

The athletics programme begins on August 3 and the qualification round for women’s discus will be held on the opening day.

A team of international experts and the editorial staff of the 64-year-old magazine, considered an authority on the sport, have picked their top-10 contenders for each of the 47 athletics events based on data gathered up to July 27.

Poonia is the lone Indian to figure in the lists, though male discus thrower Vikas Gowda, a finalist at the World championships in Daegu last year, is considered a strong candidate, at least in India, to figure in the top 10.

Gowda 20th

Gowda is currently 20th in the season lists with his 66.28m, recorded in Oklahoma, US, in April.

The T&FN forecasts place Sandra Perkovic (PB 68.24m) of Croatia at number one in women’s discus, followed by Nadine Muller of Germany (68.89) and China’s World champion Li Yanfeng (67.98).

Poonia, with a season best and National record of 64.76, is ninth, a position she enjoys in the season lists also, behind Darya Pishchalnikova of Russia (season leader at 70.69), Beijing silver winner Yarelis Barrios of Cuba, defending champion Stephanie Brown Trafton of the US, Zaneta Glanc of Poland and Denia Caballero of Cuba.

Seema Antil, the other Indian woman discus thrower in the Olympic fray, has shown better form of late than Poonia, edging ahead of her team-mate in a meet in London on July 21 last, 62.30 to 61.26.

In men’s discus, the predictions are for world champion Robert Harting of Germany (season leader at 70.66m) to keep his unbeaten streak of 28 contests dating back to August, 2010, to be followed by two-time Olympic champion and two-time World champion Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania and Piotr Malachowski of Poland, the silver medallist from Beijing Games.

Defending Olympic champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia has been placed fifth, behind Asian record holder Ehsan Hadadi of Iran.

Some of the other T&FN medal picks are: Men: 100: 1. Yohan Blake (Jam), 2. Usain Bolt (Jam), 3. Tyson Gay (US); 200m: 1. Bolt, 2. Blake, 3. Wallace Spearmon (US); 400m: 1. Kirani James (Grn), 2. LaShawn Merrit (US), 3. Jonathan Borlee (Bel).

800m: 1. David Rudisha (Ken), 2. Mohamed Aman (Eth), 3. Abubaker Kaki (Sud); 1500m: 1. Asbel Kiprop (Ken), 2. Silas Kiplagat (Ken), 3. Nixon Chepseba (Ken); 5000m: 1. Mo Farah (Gbr), 2. Dejen Gebremeskel (Eth), 3. Bernard Lagat (US); 10,000m: 1. Farah, 2. Kenenisa Bekele (Eth), 3. Gallen Rupp (US); 110m hurdles: 1. Aries Merritt (US), 2. Liu Xiang (Chn), 3. Jason Richardson (US); Triple jump: 1. Christian Taylor (US), 2. Will Claye (US), 3. Phillips Idowu (Gbr); Javelin: 1. Vitezslav Vesely (Cze), 2 . Oleksandr Pyatnytsya (Ukr), 3. Andreas Thorkildsen (Nor).

Women: 100m: 1. Sally Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jam), 2. Carmelita Jeter (US), 3. Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jam); 200m: 1. Allyson Felix (US), 2. Campbell-Brown, 3. Jeter.

400m: 1. Sanya Richards-Ross (US), 2. Amantle Montsho (Bot), 3. Antonina Krivoshapka (Rus); 800m: 1. Pamela Jelimo (Ken), 2. Mariya Savinova (Rus), 3. Fantu Magiso (Eth); 5000m: 1. Vivian Cheruiyot (Ken), 2. Meseret Defar (Eth), 3. Sally Kipyego (Ken); 10,000m: 1. Tirunesh Dibbaba (Eth), 2. Cheruiyot, 3. Kipyego; 100m hurdles: 1. Sally Pearson (Aus), 2. Dawn Harper (US), 3. Kellie Wells (US); Pole vault: 1. Yelena Isinbayeva (Rus), 2. Jenn Suhr (US), 3. Silke Spiegelburg (Ger); Triple jump: 1. Olga Saladuha (Ukr), 2. Olga Rypakova (Kaz), 3. Caterina Ibarguen (Col).