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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Slick Japan can cause major shock in men's 4x100m

Relays should be a thrilling finale

Usain Bolt: the track's biggest star is retiring
1 of 1

Day nine
BBC1 and Eurosport 1, 9.30am & 6.30pm Saturday

On the penultimate day of the championships the only events that are still to start are the relays.

Jamaica are 8-11 to give Usain Bolt a golden send-off in the men's 4x100m, but their sprinters have been sub-par all championships and they were roundly outperformed by their USA equivalents in the 100m and 200m.

However, the USA failed to get the baton round in the world final in Beijing in 2015 and the Rio Olympics last year. They should be favourites, but they are a skinny price for a team with their baton issues.

Instead, take a chance on easily the best baton operatives in the field, Japan. There is not a podium-finish market for the relays but Ladbrokes' 50-1 cannot be refused.

None of the the Japanese team have run under ten seconds, yet they finished second in Rio with a 37.60s - 0.33s behind Jamaica. With the Jamaicans regressing and the Japanese having had another year to drill their handovers the outsiders look much better value.

It could also be heartbreak for the Jamaican women, who are missing three of their Rio line-up who still found America too good. The USA could field three of the four who brought home that gold and are arguably upgraded on the other leg. 

The United States should also be the overwhelming favourites for the women's 4x400m.

They provided the first and third home in the individual event, while their third runner missed out on a fastest loser spot by 0.01s. They have a plethora of talent to bring in for the remaining spot as they have four of the five quickest women in the world this year. 

While America's 400m women have dominated on the clock this season their men have not and their one standout performer trailed in last in the individual final.

Botswana, on the other hand, have two of the quickest runners this season - fan favourite Isaac Makwala and individual fourth Baboloki Thebe. They will be joined by 800m superstar Nijel Amos and 19-year-old rising star Karabo Sibanda.

Sibanda already has a PB of 44.25, while Amos is a 45.5 man. They are a seriously competitive unit and this is far from a vintage USA team.

The highlight of the night for the home crowd will be Mo Farah’s attempt to land a second gold in the men’s 5,000m final.

He is 1-2 favourite with Racing Post Sport’s top-three tip, Selemon Barega, now 8-11 for a medal and an 8-1 chance for gold.

Our pick for the men’s javelin, Johannes Vetter, is 4-5 to win gold after a throw of 91.20 metres in qualifying. His rival Thomas Rohler is out to 9-4 after clearing the 83m qualifying distance at the second attempt with 83.87m.

Japan Men's 4x100m relay
1pt 50-1 Ladbrokes
USA Women's 4x100m relay 
2pts 2-1 Ladbrokes
USA Women's 4x400m relay
2pts 11-8 Ladbrokes
Botswana Men's 4x400m relay
1pt 13-8 Sky Bet

Already advised
L Victor top-three finish Men's decathlon
1pt 6-1 Sky Bet
Y Levchenko top-three finish Women's high jump 
1pt 6-4 Sky Bet
J Vetter Men's javelin
1pt 13-8 general
S Barega top-three finish Men's 5,000m
1pt 6-4 Sky Bet

None of the the Japanese team have run under ten seconds, yet they finished second in Rio with a 37.60s - 0.33s behind Jamaica
E.W. Terms
Sky bet