Five athletes to watch at the Tokyo Olympics
AFTER much doubt and speculation about whether the Tokyo Olympic Games will take place, it seems that many top countries have prepared their qualifying athletes to compete in the Japanese capital. Reuters looks at five athletes to watch out for at the Games next month:
ARMAND DUPLANTIS (SWEDEN) Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis has broken the world record and is a world silver medallist. Heading to Tokyo, the 21-year-old will vie for the medal he has always wanted to win. "Since I was a kid I wanted to win an Olympic gold, to be the best pole vaulter in the world," he said in December.
BRIGID KOSGEI (KENYA)
Kosgei won her first international marathon in Porto in 2015 and heads to Japan as the favourite for gold. The 27-year-old mother of twins broke the world record in Chicago in 2019 and is a double London marathon winner.
JOSHUA CHEPTEGEI (UGANDA)
The 24-year-old is bidding for the 5 000 and 10 000m double in Tokyo. Cheptegei broke the 10 000m world record in Valencia in October, two months after smashing the 5 000m mark, which had been in place for 16 years.
Cheptegei knows he faces a huge task to become the eighth man to achieve the Olympic double.
"It would be a mountain to climb," Cheptegei said.
SHA'CARRI RICHARDSON (UNITED STATES)
Richardson leads US hopes in the women's 100m, an event they have failed to win since Marion Jones in 2000 at Sydney, before she had to relinquish the gold medal due to a doping scandal.
Richardson, 21, burst onto the scene two years ago and ran a world leading time of 10.72 seconds this year heading into the US trials.
NOAH LYLES (UNITED STATES)
The reigning world 200m champion, Lyles is favourite for gold in Tokyo.
Lyles, who overcame severe asthma as a child, ran a blistering 19.90 to win the 200m at the Golden Games meet in May, about a tenth of a second slower than eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt's performance at the 2016 Rio Games.