World Championships preview – women’s distance events

A preview of the women’s distance events at the IAAF World Championships

Vivian Cheruiyot


» Defending champ Caster Semenya is short of her 2009 shape and is ranked just equal 14th in 2011. But she did win at the Paris Diamond League and there could be more to come.

» Mariya Savinova has three major titles to her name (2009 Euro Indoors, 2010 World Indoors, 2010 Europeans) and this year improved her PB to a world leading 1:56.95.

» Russia boasts the world top five this summer and Savinova could well lead Yuliya Rusanova and Yekaterina Kostetskaya to a clean sweep of the medals.

» Other medal contenders include Svetlana Usovich who boasts a 50.79 400m PB, and former world leader Kenia Sinclair who has run sub-1:58.50 three times this summer.

» 2007 champion and 2009 runner-up Janeth Jepjosgei hasn’t been in her most dominant form in 2011 but could be a medal threat as could the three Americans, led by US champion Alysia Montano

» Jenny Meadows is ranked 13th on times but she has won medals in her last four Championships. Looked good when beating Sinclair at Crystal Palace.


» Defending champ Maryam Jamal hasn’t been consistent in 2011 but does possess the two fastest times.

» Ethiopia has good chances with Kalkidan Gezahegne and Gelete Burka both in good shape.

» Moroccan pair of Btissam Lakhouad and Silham Hilali have good times to their names if not the competitive record to match it.

» The most impressive series of runs, other than from Jamal, have come from strong finisher Morgan Uceny who won at US Trials, Lausanne and Birmingham.

» Olympic champion Nancy Langat has not been at her best but knows how to peak in Championships.

» 2009 runner-up Lisa Dobriskey has a good record of making finals but will need her best form of 2011 to be a factor. UK Trials winner Hannah England has the faster times and better form so far this year.


» Defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot is a big favourite. She has the world leading time (14:20.87) and probably the best kick too, but will be running the 10,000m first.

» Meserat Defar is once again going for the double, after illness in Barlin saw her fade in the home straight in both events

» Ethiopian pair Sentayehu Ejigu and Genzebe Dibaba are closely matched with Kenyan duo Linet Masai and Mercy Cherono.

» Most likely non-African challenger could be USA’s Lauren Fleshman who showed impressive speed to win in London.

» European Indoor champion Helen Clitheroe is ranked 11th of those entered for Daegu, so a place in the final is a distinct possibility.


» Vivian Cheruiyot is the marginal favourite, but she has never contested a major 10,000m before and will be up against the defending champion Linet Masai.

» Meseret Defar is also going for the double and is joined on Ethiopian team by Meselech Melkamu.

» World leader Sally Kipyego should be a factor although she lacks international championship experience.

» American Shalane Flanagan has every chance of also winning a medal based on her second to Kipyego in Palo Alto.


» Kenyan team is led by Edna Kiplagat, who was third in London in 2:20:46 in April, and Priscah Jeptoo, who won Paris in 2.22:55.

» The Ethiopian challenge is headed by Aselefech Mergia, who clocked 2:22:45 to win in Dubai in January, and includes Bezunesh Bekele and Atsede Baysa, who were fourth and fifth in London.

» The world’s two fastest runners in 2011, Mary Keitany of Kenya and Liliya Shobukhova, are not set to run, neither will reigning champion Bai Xue of China.

» The leading European contender is Kenyan-turned-Swede Isabellah Andersson, who ran 2:23:41 for third in Dubai.

» Japan has a strong team with Yoshimi Ozaki, Yukiko Akaba and Remi Nakazato – all sub-2:25 runners in 2011.

3000m steeplechase

» Milcah Chemos has been unbeatable on the circuit so far this year.

» Ethiopia’s Sofia Assefa was two seconds adrift of Chemos when the Kenyan ran the fastest time of the world this year of 9:12.89 in Rome in late May.

» Kenya has two other sub-9:20 athletes in Daegu – Lydia Rotich and Mercy Njoroge.

» Other contenders include Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia, Birtukan Adamu of Ethiopia and European champion Yuliya Zaripova (nee Zarudneva) of Russia.

» Britain’s only entrant, Barbara Parker, had a bad run in London, but is in form to break the British record.

20km walk

» Olga Kaniskina is unbeaten internationally since 2007.

» Russia achieved a clean sweep at the Europeans and the same trio might replicate this feat if Vera Sokolova and Anisya Kirdyapkina match their early-season world record-breaking form.

» Reigning bronze medallist Liu Hong of China, Olympic bronze medallist and European Cup third-placer Elisa Rigaudo of Italy and Olympic sixth-placer Beatriz Pascual of Spain are likely contenders if any of the Russian trio falter.


» All of the above are bite-sized versions of the AW‘s World Championships preview. For the full version – including rankings, features, stats and predictions – get the latest copy of Athletics Weekly, out August 25.

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