Sydney McLaughlin on her way to a 400m hurdles heat win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (© Getty Images)
How is it day six already? The finals are coming thick and fast at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and another five of them take place on Wednesday (4).
Here are five things to watch on day six…
Could another world record fall?
Women’s 400m hurdles final
11:30am Tokyo time | 4:30am CEST
One day after Karsten Warholm took the men’s world 400m hurdles record to a remarkable 45.94, Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad – the current and former women’s world record-holders – will take to the track.
McLaughlin clocked 51.90 at the US Olympic Trials last month, while Muhammad ran her former world record of 52.16 to win the world title in 2019, and both athletes are sure to push each other again as they battle for the Olympic title.
Rising Dutch star Femke Bol will also be looking to challenge them. The 21-year-old has taken her PB from 53.79 to 52.37 this season and now ranks fourth on the all-time list. They all impressed in the rain-affected semifinals, with McLaughlin easing to a time of 53.03, while Muhammad won her race in 53.30 and Bol claimed hers in 53.91. They will be joined in the final by athletes including Jamaica’s Janieve Russell and Ukraine’s Anna Ryzhykova.
Lyles eyes 200m crown
Men’s 200m final
9:55pm Tokyo time | 2:55pm CEST
For the first time since 2004, the men’s Olympic 200m title will be awarded to someone not named ‘Usain Bolt’. Following the Jamaican legend’s retirement in 2017, USA’s Noah Lyles has stepped up as the man to beat over the half-lap distance. Undefeated in finals in 2021, he ran his PB of 19.50 in 2019.
Kenny Bednarek will look to challenge his fellow US sprinter, having pushed Lyles close this year in finishing just 0.04 adrift in both of their 200m clashes. He also ran a 19.78 PB at the US Trials.
Erriyon Knighton has had a magnificent breakthrough this year, with the 17-year-old setting a world U18 best of 20.04 in the US Trials heats, before a world U20 record of 19.88 in the semifinal which he improved to 19.84 in the final.
In the Olympic final they will be joined by Liberia’s NCAA champion Joe Fahnbulleh, Trinidad and Tobago’s 2017 world bronze medallist Jereem Richards, Canada’s multiple major medallist Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown and Jamaica's Rasheed Dwyer.
All set for the steeplechase
Women’s 3000m steeplechase final
8:00pm Tokyo time | 1:00pm CEST
Beatrice Chepkoech is the world record-holder, having run 8:44.32 in 2018, and she then claimed the world title a year later with a championship record of 8:57.84. She clocked another world record with 14:43 over 5km on the roads, plus an indoor 3000m PB of 8:31.72, earlier this year but is yet to win a steeplechase race in 2021. She will be looking to save that victory for when it really counts in Tokyo.
Her compatriot Hyvin Kiyeng, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist who has a season’s best of 9:03.82, looks set to be a big threat, while African Games champion Mekides Abebe has gone quickest this year with her Ethiopian record of 9:02.52 at the Diamond League meeting in Doha. The Ethiopian team also includes Lomi Muleta, who set a PB of 9:14.03 this year, and Zerfe Wondemagegn, who set a national U20 record of 9:16.95 in Hengelo.
US champion and 2017 world gold medallist Emma Coburn will once again be a medal contender, and she will be joined in the final by athletes including her teammates Courtney Frerichs, the 2017 world silver medallist, and Valerie Constien, plus Germany’s Gesa Felicitas Krause and Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai.
Amos is ready to race
Men’s 800m final
9:05pm Tokyo time | 2:05pm CEST
With two-time winner David Rudisha not returning to defend his title, a new champion will be crowned in Tokyo for the first time since 2012. A number of athletes could take the step up to succeed the Kenyan great.
It had looked as though the Olympic dream of Botswana’s 2012 silver medallist Nijel Amos had come to an end in the semifinals when he was involved in a fall and was unable to finish, but he was advanced to the final by the referee and will now look to go one better than his runner-up place from five years ago.
The USA’s Clayton Murphy has been returning to the sort of form which saw him claim 2016 Olympic bronze as a 21-year-old, while Australia’s Peter Bol was impressive in the semifinals, setting his second Oceania record in as many days with 1:44.11 from a controlled performance.
Others to watch out for will be Kenya’s world bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich and Emmanuel Korir, plus Poland’s former 400m hurdles specialist Patryk Dobek.
Is it Fajdek's time?
Men’s hammer final
8:15pm Tokyo time | 1:15pm CEST
Pawel Fajdek may be a four-time world champion but never before had he reached an Olympic hammer final. In qualifying his best was 76.46m, only the ninth best effort of the day, but he returns to the circle on Wednesday on the hunt for another global gold.
It was his Polish teammate, Wojciech Nowicki, who had the biggest throw in that first round, recording 79.78m, while the USA’s Rudy Winkler threw 78.81m and Norway’s Eivind Henricksen a national record of 78.79m.
Fajdek’s national record of 83.93m was achieved back in 2015, but the 32-year-old has bettered 82 metres four times this year, topped by his world-leading 82.98m in May.
Winkler is close behind him, though, and after breaking the 80-metre barrier for the first time last year, he won the US title in June with a North American record of 82.71m, producing a series featuring five 80-metre throws.
Also look out for Ukrainian youngster Mykhaylo Kokhan, France’s Quentin Bigot, Britain’s Nick Miller and the USA's Daniel Haugh.