Christian Taylor in the triple jump at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Expected highlights on day five – Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Five more Olympic champions will be decided on the fifth day of athletics at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Here’s what to look out for among the medal events and beyond.

Morning medals decided in the field

The men’s triple jump final (09:50) is the day’s first medal event. Favourite Christian Taylor needed just one effort to make it through qualifying, which he topped with 17.24m. The US jumper won gold at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 with the second-best jump in history and is attempting to defend the title he won in 2012.

Teammate Will Claye took silver in 2012, but prevailed over Taylor at the US Olympic Trials to make it to Rio. He was third best in qualifying with 17.05m, which was five centimetres short of world indoor champion Dong Bin’s single effort to make the final.

Sandra Perkovic leads the discus world list this year with a best of 70.88m and is favourite to win her second gold in the final, which starts at 11:20. The Croatian was best in qualifying, although her 65.38m was a nervy third rounder, coming after two fouls in a rain-effected session.

Sandra Perkovic in the discus at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (AFP / Getty Images)Sandra Perkovic in the discus at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright

That’s a reminder that throws competitions are never forgone conclusions. Perkovic ‘only’ took world silver in 2015 after repeatedly throwing into the net. Denia Caballero profited for gold on that day. The Cuban was third best in qualifying here. Her countrywoman, Yaime Perez, is the second-best thrower of 2016 and was comfortably through to the final.

The German trio of Julia Fischer, Shanice Craft and Nadine Muller were 2-3-4 at the recent European Championships (behind Perkovic) and could all snare a medal, as could 2009 world champion Dani Samuels, who was second best in qualifying.

The first action of the day will see new Olympic 10,000m champion and world record-holder Almaz Ayana run for a place in the 5000m final (09:30). Women’s pole vault qualifying starts at 09:45 and will see a crop of young, talented vaulters attempt to book places in Friday’s final.

There are also round-one races in the men’s 1500m (10:30) and 200m (11:50) and the women’s 100m hurdles (11:05).

High jump, hurdles and the metric mile finals highlight evening session

In the evening session, the men’s high jump final gets the battle for medals under way at 20:30.

It is a field that contains three athletes capable of 2.40m or more, and four athletes who have stood on the Olympic podium before.

The 2.40m men are Bogdan Bonderenko, Derek Drouin and Mutaz Essa Barshim, though only the latter has achieved the mark this season. Bonderenko is the 2013 world gold medallist, Drouin the 2015 world champion. All three suffered no failures in qualifying and should be around when the bar pushes toward the medal-deciding heights.

Derek Drouin in the high jump at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)Derek Drouin in the high jump at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright

Olympic silver medallist Erik Kynard has a best of 2.35m this season and had only one failure en route to the final. Robbie Grabarz, who shared bronze in 2012 with Drouin and Barshim, has been resurgent this season. He put three seasons of injury woe behind him with world indoor silver in March and European silver in July.

Bahamas’ Donald Thomas and Syrian Majd Eddin Ghazal have set personal bests of 2.37m and 2.36m respectively this year. With world indoor champion Gianmarco Tamberi out injured and world bronze medallist Zhang Guowei failing to make the final, they can look towards the medal places with some optimism.

In the evening’s first track final, Genzebe Dibaba will go after her first Olympic medal in the 1500m (at 22:30). The Ethiopian is the world champion and world record-holder over the distance, but injuries have disrupted her preparation. And despite being fastest in the semi-finals (4:03.06), she is not the favourite for gold.

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon is. She won her semi-final in the third-fastest time overall and is unbeaten so far in 2016. Though the 22-year-old had to settle for silver behind Dibaba last year, she is full of confidence after setting two national records this year.

Faith Kipyegon in the 1500m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)Faith Kipyegon in the 1500m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright

World indoor champion Sifan Hassan was second fastest in the semis but three races in four days might affect the Dutchwoman’s medal hopes. She ran out of gas in the last laps of the European Championships and at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London, where Laura Muir overtook her for a stunning British record 3:57.49.

US pair Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury both looked comfortable in the semis and can be expected to feature near the front of the pack.

Rounding off the evening’s schedule at 22:45 is the final of the men’s 110m hurdles after the semi-finals earlier in the evening (20:40). The athletes will hope for better conditions than the torrential rain that accompanied the heats.

Omar McLeod was fastest in the wet, winning his heat in 13.27. He is the world indoor champion, has the fastest time in the world this year and aims to win Jamaica’s first gold in this event.

Orlando Ortega is trying to win Spain’s first gold in this event as well. He was sixth in 2012 and tuned up for Rio with a 13.04 national record. He was fourth fastest in qualifying behind USA’s Ronnie Ash and France’s European champion Dimitri Bascou. Both nations will be hopeful of at least a medal, with Devon Allen and Jeff Porter of USA and Pascal Martinot Lagarde of France also having good hopes of advancing from the semi-finals.

In the evening session’s non-medal-deciding events, finalists will be decided in the women’s javelin, long jump, 400m hurdles and 200m, while the men’s 200m sprinters will be back out for their semi-finals after their morning heats.

Thomas Byrne for the IAAF