Okagbare and Wells stun favourites to stake claims for Olympic gold
The Olympic outlook has been transformed as far as some of the key women’s athletics events are concerned after several shocks occurred on the final day of the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.
The 100m was hyped as a straight showdown between defending Olympic champion Shelly Ann Fraser and reigning world champion Carmelita Jeter, however Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare stunned both, piping Jeter by 0.02 seconds.
Despite the victory, the 23-year-old is a distant 10/1 fifth favourite to prevail again in the big one, the fact that she is the fifth different winner of the distance at a Diamond League meeting this year pointing to a wide-open race.
Second place was actually enough to push Jeter’s Olympic odds in from 5/2 to 9/4, primarily because the market leader Fraser was so unexpectedly off the pace. Consequently, the Jamaican has drifted from 5/4 all the way out to 7/4.
But Saturday’s greatest upset was saved for the 100m hurdles, where the reputation of Australia’s Sally Pearson as the clear favourite for Olympic gold was cast into uncertainty.
The world champion had been priced at 2/5 to triumph at London 2012 and arrived at Crystal Palace fresh from success in a remarkable 31 of her previous 32 races.
USA’s Kellie Wells outpaced her by the slimmest of margins though, in the process pushing her own odds for the top prize in from 8/1 to 5/2, while the formerly untouchable frontrunner, who refused to talk to press after the loss, is out to 4/7.
British glory in the women’s events was provided by Christine Ohuruogu in the 400m (6/1 to win at London 2012), Perri Shakes-Drayton in the 400m hurdles (5/1) and Goldie Sayer in the javelin (8/1).
Over on the men’s side, Mo Farah bossed the 5,000m, but Phillips Idowu’s late withdrawal from the triple jump increases speculation over his fitness ahead of the Games. He is the 6/1 third favourite yet hasn’t competed for two months.