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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Osaka 1500m Predictions

If we've learned anything over the last two decades, it's that championship races without a rabbit reward a slightly different set of abilities than the GP circuit's high-speed time trials. This adds a layer of complexity.

Gold - Belal Mansoor Ali (Bahrain). The fact that he's won his last three outings at 1500m on the World Athletics Tour is meaningful, but that he's also won twice at shorter distances is much more meaningful. The 800m and 1k require a bit more speed-endurance, and also require a bit more actual racing skill.

Silver - Alan Webb (USA). Clearly he's running better than any miler in the world right now. He also has a history of running poorly in races where he may have to think on his feet. I'm not ready to jump on the Webb bandwagon yet, but counting him out of the medals would be stupid.

Bronze - Asbel Kiprop (Kenya). A big question mark. He's won four big meets in Africa (World Junior XC, Kenyan Championships, All-Africa Games, Kenyan Trials) and ran poorly in his two European outings. Note that the experts say an altitude-trained athlete needs time to acclimate to sea level before he has any "snap" in his legs, so those two WAT races might not mean much. Reasonable people have even picked him to win.


Gold - Maryam Yusuf Jamal (Bahrain). Has lost only to Soboleva this summer and her history at championship meets is very good.

Silver - Yelena Soboleva (Russia). Running great, but doesn't do so well at the big meets.

Bronze - Irina Lishchynska (Ukraine). A safe pick.

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