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Rio Olympics: Today at Games | Athletics gets under way

Rio Olympics: Today at Games | Athletics gets under way

Athletics makes its entrance into Rio 2016 on Friday, after seeing the other sports take center stage over the past six days.

The likes of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Tirunesh Dibaba and David Rudisha are all in action on a busy day at the Olympic Stadium, with medals available in the women’s 10,000 meters and the men’s 20-kilometre walk.

Away from athletics, Rafael Nadal looks to add to the singles gold he won in Beijing eight years ago when he goes in the men’s doubles final alongside Marc Lopez.

Meanwhile, Michael Phelps and fellow American Katie Ledecky will be out to continue their stunning success stories in the pool.

ENNIS-HILL BEGINS HEPTATHLON DEFENSE

Four years ago, Jessica Ennis-Hill delighted a partisan crowd at London’s Olympic Stadium, clinching gold in the women’s heptathlon as part of what became known as ‘Super Saturday’ among British fans.

Since then, the 30-year-old has given birth to a son, Reggie, while last year in Beijing she added a second world title to her Olympic crown.

Friday sees Ennis-Hill and the rest of the field go in the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and the 200m.

The Briton won by over 300 points in 2012, but this year faces stiff competition from the likes of Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton and compatriot Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

A TREBLE FOR TIRUNESH?

The first athletics medal of Rio 2016 will be won in the women’s 10,000m.

Tirunesh Dibaba is the double defending champion, having topped the podium in both London and Beijing as part of a remarkable career

Following in the footsteps of compatriot Derartu Tulu, who won gold in this event at the 1992 and 2000 Games, Dibaba was the first woman to retain her crown at London 2012.

A third consecutive victory on Friday would cement her status as one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time.

NADAL NEARING OLYMPIC RELIEF

Rafael Nadal has endured a trying two-and-a-half years since his French Open triumph in 2014.

Since his last title at Roland Garros, the Spaniard has struggled with injuries and loss of form, failing to advance beyond the last eight of any grand slam.

But he has a chance to assuage that disappointment on Friday when he competes in the men’s doubles final with Marc Lopez, against the Romanian duo of Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau.

Nadal already has one Olympic gold to his name, courtesy of a singles triumph over Fernando Gonzalez in Beijing, and topping the podium once again would be a welcome boost following a tumultuous period for the 14-time major winner.

PHENOMENAL PHELPS IN THE HUNT AGAIN

Thursday saw Michael Phelps add to his scarcely believable haul of Olympic medals, his stunning performance in the 200m individual medley taking his tally to 26 – 22 of them gold.

And the American has the chance to clinch another on Friday when he goes in the 100m butterfly final – an event he has won in each of the past three Games.

He will have his work cut out, however, in a strong field featuring fierce rival Chad le Clos, as well as Laszlo Cseh and Joseph Schooling.

LEDECKY LIKELY TO LEAVE THE REST TRAILING ONCE MORE

Immediately after the men’s 100m butterfly, Katie Ledecky will seek to defend her 800m freestyle crown.

She already has three golds to her name at Rio 2016, and has blown the rest of the field away en route to lighting up the Aquatics Stadium.

The first of those arrived in the 400m when Ledecky won by almost five seconds. A similarly superior performance is expected this time around as the 19-year-old superstar continues to demonstrate her dominance.




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Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field