Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Dina Asher-Smith and Allyson Felix among those in sprint action 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
World and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a clear favourite. The Jamaican’s 10.74 in Paris tops the world list and she has looked a class apart from her rivals. Blessing Okagbare followed her home in 10.80 in France, but the Nigerian has a patchy record in 100m championships and was only sixth in Moscow. Also in the likely battle for a medal is European champion Dafne Schippers and Jamaican Elaine Thompson. In the absence of Dina Asher-Smith, who is focusing on the 200m, Britain’s sole representative is Asha Philip.
This looks a far more open event than the 100m. Olympic champion Allyson Felix is focusing on the 400m and world champion Fraser-Pryce has shown little form at this distance in 2015 and is unlikely to start. European champion Dafne Schippers has been consistent all year, while Murielle Ahoure and Blessing Okagbare are likely to be to the fore. Also more than capable of a final place, or indeed a medal, is the top Briton Dina Asher-Smith.
Owing to the inflexibility of the US selection system, there is no place in the team for the two fastest Americans, Francine McCorory, who has run the three quickest times in the world this year, or Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross. They still have the star runner though in three-time world 200m champion Allyson Felix, who is focusing on the longer event and keen to improve on her close second place from 2011. In 2013, Christine Ohuruogu regained her title with a British record 49.41. She has a season’s best of 50.82, but is a proven championship performer.
» 100m hurdles
The willingness of the women’s best sprint hurdlers to race each other regularly should make this an easy event to predict, but the battle for supremacy has been an intriguing tale this year. Sharika Nelvis’s last outing was a winning 12.46 so she may start as favourite, but Dawn Harper-Nelson will be waiting if the newcomer is not on top form. Britain’s Tiffany Porter should challenge for a medal and her younger sister, Cindy Ofili, has potential to be close to a podium position.
» 400m hurdles
Having missed much of last year through injury, Zuzana Hejnova is slowly returning to the form which saw her win the world title in 2013. Shamier Little won the world junior title last year and has improved by more than a second to a world lead of 53.74, though she has no experience on the international circuit. Denmark’s Sara Peterssen, who has improved her best by more than a second a half this year to 53.99, pushed Hejnova very close in both Paris and London.
» 4x100m relay
Jamaica and the USA have been so dominant in women’s sprinting during the last decade that no other nation has been able to win a 4x100m relay gold at a World Championships since 2005. Having run a world-leading 41.96 in Monaco last month without a full-strength team, the US look to be the marginal favourites in China. The British team, including Dina Asher-Smith, will need to run close to the UK record of 42.21 set at the Zurich Diamond League in 2014 to make an impact.
» 4x400m relay
Having stormed to victory at the world relays in the Bahamas this May, winning in a championship record time of 3:19.39, USA are the clear favourites for Beijing. Jamaica would appear to be their most likely challengers once more, especially given that they have three runners who have already run under 51 seconds in 2015. Great Britain, who finished third in 2013 and at the world relays, will be a challenger for bronze, led by world champion Christine Ohuruogu.
» 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