A look ahead to the men’s field and multi events at the IAAF World Championships taking place in Moscow from August 10-18
After a couple of 2.33m competitions earlier in the season, Bohdan Bondarenko – the man who was seventh in the Olympics last year – looked the real deal when clearing 2.36m in Birmingham in June before his 2.41m in July made him the best jumper since 1994.
Earlier in the season it was Qatar’s Olympic bronze medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim who was looking a strong favourite for Moscow with his 2.40m. It is only the third time in history that two or more have been 2.40m or higher in the same year, so the top spots are sure to be left to the 23-year-old Ukrainian and his Qatari rival.
Renaud Lavillenie will be hoping to improve on his bronze medals in the last two world championships and with nine wins out of 12 competitions this season, he goes into Moscow in flying form, having cleared a national record 6.02m in London at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games recently.
Raphael Holzdeppe heads a strong German trio that also includes the Olympic silver medallist Bjorn Otto and Malte Mohr who will be looking to capitalise on any slip-up from Lavillenie.
Aleksandr Menkov must start as the big favourite courtesy of his seven wins in nine competitions this year. The most recent to beat him was Mexico’s Luis Rivera, who leads the world rankings with his 8.46m.
Spain’s Eusebio Caceres is another who could challenge, while Brazil’s Mauro da Silva has been over 8.20m a few times this year. Olympic champion Greg Rutherford, who faced a race against time to be fit for Moscow, should not be ruled out either.
World indoor record-holder Teddy Tamgho’s campaign on his comeback from injury this year has been slowly gathering momentum and he has been over 17.40m in his last four meetings.
His biggest challenger will be Olympic and world champion Christian Taylor, with the Loughborough-based American second ahead of Tamgho on the world rankings. Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo tops the rankings, however, thanks to a 17.69m in Havana.
Recently US shot putters have a propensity for underperforming at the major championships but based on this season’s performances, Ryan Whiting and Reese Hoffa should dominate the final in Moscow.
The pair lead the world rankings this season with 22.28m and 21.71m respectively, while other medal contenders include Canada’s Dylan Armstrong and Czech champion Ladislav Prášil.
Robert Harting’s 35-0 win streak stretching back from August 2010 might have been halted by Poland’s Piotr Malachowski in Hengelo which was followed by defeat to compatriot Martin Wierig a few weeks later, but he is still tipped to be the first three-time champion since compatriot and eventual five-time winner Lars Riedel. The medals in Moscow are sure to go between these three athletes.
European and Olympic champion Krisztian Pars of Hungary arrives in Moscow off the back of a 23-competition win streak and should have the upper hand on Japan’s reigning champion Koji Murofushi.
Slovenian Primož Kozmus will be aiming for his sixth successive podium finish at a global championships, while Russia’s Sergey Litvinov and Poland’s Pawel Fajdek should also offer a challenge.
It could be a golden Russian double in the javelin competitions as Dmitriy Tarabin goes into the men’s competition as favourite and his wife, Mariya Abakumova, is tipped to win the women’s equivalent.
Czech thrower Vitezslav Vesely has consistently been throwing over 85m this summer, while Tero Pitkämäki has recovered well from a mid-season operation on his rib and the Finn, who won his national title with 85.70m, leads the Scandinavian assault although Andreas Thorkildsen from Norway can never be discounted.
Olympic champion Ashton Eaton’s preparations might have been interrupted by a tendon injury picked up just before Gotzis but the American is still tipped to win his first world outdoor title in Moscow.
Germany’s Michael Schrader scored 8427 in his first completed decathlon in almost three years in May and is also a contender, along with 2008 Olympic silver medallist Andrei Krauchanka who is also on the comeback from injury.
» The above are bite-sized extracts from AW‘s full World Championships guide in the August 8 issue. This includes 28-pages of in-depth event-by-event previews with rankings, stats and predictions. You can download the digital edition here.