Mo Farah is among the athletes in action as he again looks to do the distance double at the IAAF World Championships
AW previews for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing from August 22-30…
men’s sprints | men’s distance | men’s field
women’s sprints | women’s distance | women’s field
From Glasgow 2014 to last month’s Anniversary Games in London, David Rudisha has been unable to beat Nijel Amos lately. The Botswanan finished runner-up to the Kenyan in the amazing Olympic final three years ago, but since then has held the upper hand. So Beijing beckons for another great head to head. However, it won’t be quite that simple as there are several others aiming to make an impact. These include reigning champion Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia, who won in Moscow two years ago in the absence of the big two.
Asbel Kiprop’s 3:26.69 to win the amazingly high-quality metric mile in Monaco last month means he starts favourite and goes for his third consecutive world title in Beijing. Taoufik Makhloufi, the Olympic champion from Algeria, was runner-up in Monaco in 3:28.75 and if he rediscovers the powerful finish he demonstrated in London 2012 then he could be Kiprop’s biggest challenge.
Mo Farah is the man with the Midas Touch, especially over 5000m, and is going for a hat-trick in Beijing. He is not unbeatable, though. For starters, there’s a strong chance he will come into the 5000m with tired legs if the 10,000m that precedes it is particularly savage. Farah has also been beaten this year – over 3000m in Doha by Hagos Gebrhiwet. Caleb Ndiku is perhaps most likely to produce Farah’s biggest test.
Mo Farah’s last three global 5000m wins have played into his hands, though the 10,000m races tend to be tougher affairs. Beijing could more gruelling, too, as the Kenyan strongmen have promised to test the man who cannot be out-kicked. Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Karoki finished one-two at the world cross country championships in March and they are joined by Paul Tanui, while Ethiopia is represented by Muktar Edris, Imane Merga, Mosinet Geremew.
The Kenyan trio is formidable and includes Wilson Kipsang, the former world record-holder and twice winner in London, Dennis Kimetto, the current world record-holder with 2:02:57, and Mark Korir, the Paris Marathon winner this year with 2:05:49. Not surprisingly, Ethiopia also has a strong team, including Lelisa Desisa, the runner-up in Moscow two years ago, while there is also the enigmatic Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.
» 3000m steeplechase
Ezekiel Kemboi claimed his third consecutive world title in Moscow but will have to work if he is to claim his fourth gold here as one athlete has dipped under eight minutes in the past two summers and that’s his fellow Kenyan, Jairus Birech. Evan Jager is fresh from an American record of 8:00.45 in Paris.
» 20km & 50km walks
Japanese record-holder Yusuke Suzuki is fastest on paper this year courtesy of his 1:16:36 for the 20km event. However, the twice Asian champion is yet to really mark his mark in a global championships and Olympic 20km champion Chen Ding spearheads the Chinese team. In-form Tom Bosworth is the sole British race walker in Beijing. In the 50km event, one which few competitors have raced this year, 2014 European and 2015 European race walking cup silver medallist Matej Toth heads the entries on paper, courtesy of his 3:34:38 from March. Surprise champion in 2013, Ireland’s Robert Heffernan receives a wildcard entry, while Australia’s Jared Tallent will be hoping to go better than his minor medals from before.
» The above are bite-sized extracts from the August 20 edition of Athletics Weekly magazine which includes much more in-depth event-by-event previews, news, stats, rankings and predictions and is available to order here or read digitally here