Greg Rutherford looks to complete the set and add the world long jump title to his Olympic, European and Commonwealth golds
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
» High jump
A total of five men – Mutaz Essa Barshim, Bohdan Bondarenko, Ivan Ukhov, Derek Drouin and Andriy Protsenko – went over 2.40m outdoors last summer, but this season has not so far seen athletes hitting such heights, with Barshim the only athlete to have cleared the mark with 2.41m when winning in Eugene. China’s Zhang Guowei and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi are also among the athletes well in the mix this year.
» Pole vault
After two bronze medals and a silver, Renaud Lavillenie will be hoping that any fourth consecutive world medal is a gold one. The Olympic champion has broken the world record with his clearance of 6.16m indoors since claiming the runner-up spot behind Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe in Moscow and, despite losses in Paris and Lausanne this summer, he proved a return to his fine form with 6.03m in London, which adds to the 6.05m he cleared in Eugene in May. If any athlete is to stand in the Frenchman’s way it could be Holzdeppe.
» Long jump
Greg Rutherford will face some tough competition in his attempt to become the fifth Briton in history to hold all four major titles at the same time. His British record of 8.51m was set last year, but this year USA’s Jeffrey Henderson has beaten that mark by one centimetre with a leap that secured him Pan Am Games gold in July. At that same competition he leapt a wind-assisted 8.54m.
» Triple jump
After the ‘year of the high jump’ it’s now the turn of the triple jump and Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Christian Taylor are leading the way with their 18-metre-plus leaps this summer. In Lausanne, Taylor became only the second athlete to record two wind-legal 18-metre-plus jumps in a competition series, with 18.02m followed by 18.06m, while Pichardo has leapt 18.08m this year.
» Shot put
The top ten marks in the season rankings have been recorded by two athletes – Joe Kovacs and David Storl – both with five apiece. Leading the way is US champion Kovacs. Throwing 22.56m in Monaco, he moved to eighth on the all-time list with the best mark in the world since 2003. Storl has also bettered 22 metres this season with his 22.20m PB in Lausanne and the German hopes to complete a hat-trick of world titles after wins in 2011 and 2013.
The man that ended Robert Harting’s run of dominance, Piotr Malachowski, perhaps starts as slight favourite. The 2008 Beijing Olympic silver medallist has recorded the longest throw in the world this year (68.29m) and, having notched up four Diamond League victories in Shanghai, Eugene, Paris and Stockholm, he will be hoping to go one better than his silver from the 2009 and 2013 Worlds.
Defending champion Paweł Fajdek looks like the man to beat, the Pole having this year recorded the second longest throw of his career behind the 83.48m Polish record he set last year with 83.12m. The contest for the minor medals looks wide open, with 18 athletes over 77m this year.
Fresh from a 91.36m world lead in Birmingham earlier this year, Kenya’s Julius Yego is hoping to put his country on the map in the field events. Having been pipped to a medal in the final round in the 2013 worlds, the Commonwealth champion is now much more established. Tero Pitkamaki is also in good form this year and he will be hoping to go one better than his silver medal from 2013 and regain his title.
Few would bet against world record-holder Ashton Eaton. Although he has not completed a decathlon since winning the World Championships in Moscow in 2013, Eaton has shown his form with a 400m PB a few weeks ago. However, a lot can go wrong across 10 events and Eaton’s team-mate and predecessor as world champion in 2009 and 2011, Trey Hardee, will be ready to pounce if Eaton falters and has already recorded a useful 8725 points in 2015.
» 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