What you need to know:
- Mo Farah, Great Britain’s double gold medalist in the 10,000 and 5,000 metres, most bizarrely didn’t qualify for these Olympics, leaving Uganda’s world record holder over the distance, Joshua Cheptegei, the clear favourite.
- Farah’s absence from the field means a new Olympic champion will be crowned in Tokyo for the first time since 2012.
A new Olympic champion will be unveiled in the men’s 10,000 metres, the first final of a competitive track and field programme that starts on Friday at the National Stadium.
Mo Farah, Great Britain’s double gold medalist in the 10,000 and 5,000 metres, most bizarrely didn’t qualify for these Olympics, leaving Uganda’s world record holder over the distance, Joshua Cheptegei, the clear favourite.
Farah’s absence from the field means a new Olympic champion will be crowned in Tokyo for the first time since 2012.
Two Ugandan stars – world record-holder Cheptegei and world-leader Jacob Kiplimo – shape up as the men to beat in an event in which some of the sport’s all-time greats have won consecutive golds dating back to 1996.
But they face an unpredictable Kenyan trio of Rodgers Kwemoi, Weldon Langat and Rhonex Kipruto, the latter drafted into the team only after trials winner Geoffrey Kamworor opted out with injury.
The race will be the first athletics final and runs from 8.30pm local time (2.30pm Kenyan time).
Elsewhere, in the men’s 400m hurdles heats (11:25am Tokyo time/ 5.25am Kenyan time) after two world title wins, Norway’s Karsten Warholm will stand on a global start line and be introduced as the world record-holder.
Warholm – who ran 46.70 to break Kevin Young's long standing world record in Oslo – goes in heat three at 11:41am local time (5.41am Kenyan time).
Rai Benjamin – who clocked 46.83 less than a week earlier at the US Olympic Trials – races in heat five at 11:57am (5.57am Kenyan time).
The mixed 4x400m relays make their Olympic debut with the heats starting off at 8.00pm Tokyo time (2pm Kenyan time).
There is one event on this athletics programme that has no previous Olympic medallists, no Olympic records and, in fact, no Olympic history at all.
The mixed 4x400m relay makes its debut in Tokyo, a discipline featuring teams of two men and two women competing against each other in any order they choose.
Fans will get an early taste of the new event on the first day of action, with the final set for the next evening.
The women’s 100m heats get underway at 12.15pm Tokyo time (6.15am Kenyan time)
The women’s 100m is an event on fire right now, with eight women having gone sub-10.90 in 2021 and three athletes on the Tokyo entry list – Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson – all having run under 10.80.
The 100m entries joining them in having dipped under 10.90 in 2021 are multiple world medallists Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, while Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith has clocked 10.91.
In the field, Kenya’s African champion Mathew Sawe will be in action in the high jump with the men’s discus, women’s triple jump and women’s shot put also launch.
Stars in action include Qatar’s two-time world champion Mutaz Barshim in the high jump, Sweden’s world champion Daniel Stahl in the discus, Venezuela’s two-time world champion Yulimar Rojas in the triple jump and New Zealand’s shot put star Valerie Adams.