With the final just 24 hours away, Greg Rutherford has backed up his pre-Games prediction that the women’s 100 metres will be one of Tokyo’s greatest events.
The semi-finals are scheduled to begin at 11:15 BST on Saturday, with three Britons qualified and vying for a place in the final at 13:50 BST.
For Rutherford, his pre-Games excitement has only been amped-up by watching the heats on Friday morning.
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Dina Asher-Smith cruised through despite being hunted down and pipped on the line by America’s Teahna Daniels, with Daryll Neita and Asha Philip following suit make it a trio of Brits in the semi-finals.
There was a new African record set by the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou with a blistering 10.78 run, whilst Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the fastest woman alive following her pre-Games 10.63 world record, cruised through her heat.
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“The girls performed outrageously well this morning,” the former Olympic long jump champion told Eurosport from trackside.
“Ta-Lou came out there and set the track alight. Shelly Ann, she’s come back as a mother and she’s doing something that I think a lot of people wouldn’t believe possible – the speeds that she’s running.
“Afterwards she was talking about how quick she wants to go and she’s talking about times of 10.5 10.6, she feels that good.
Most of the girls who seemed to run under 11 [seconds] today, they’re all switching off! I was calling it before the Games even started, the women’s 100m for me is going to be one of the events of this entire games. I cannot wait to see how it unfolds.
Rutherford’s enthusiasm was only heightened by the safe passage of the Team GB’s sprinters.
The fastest British woman of all-time and a 200m world champion in 2019, Asher-Smith is tipped to be Team GB’s best hope in challenging for a medal on track.
Despite being caught late on by Daniels in her heat, Rutherford has no doubts about her pace heading into tomorrow.
He said: “All three of the Brits through, it’s exactly what we want to see. For Daryll, thrilled that she finally broke that 11-second barrier, that is the ultimate for any female 100m runner so that is brilliant news.
“For Dean, she’s going through the motions, she’s got a lot of running to do here. She’ll just get quicker and quicker.”
With the women’s 100m finals set for a morning start in Tokyo, a stark contrast to the evening scheduling of the heats, Rutherford speculated on the impact this could have on performance.
“It does have an impact, 100%”, the 34-year-old explained.
“Fundamentally, if you’re trying to do a final at say 9-10 o’clock in the morning, you have to be up around 5 o’clock.
If nerves are setting in and you’re not having a great night’s sleep the night before, that doesn’t help massively. Trying to get your food right and hydration of course as well – getting all those things right is a difficult thing to do if it’s very early in the morning so I can imagine that will impact certain people.
“Then again, this morning was that good – with excitement, adrenaline and everything else, they will run remarkably fast times I think.
“For different people it will be a different outcome but so far so good.”
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