Eight of the world’s top athletics nations will clash at the London Stadium this weekend
Eight nations, 34 events, two evenings of action and one platinum trophy – World Cup fever is spreading to track and field this weekend (July 14-15) as the inaugural Athletics World Cup takes place in the London Stadium.
The new competition will see athletes from the USA, Great Britain & Northern Ireland, Poland, China, Germany, France, Jamaica and South Africa contest all field events and track disciplines up to and including the 1500m, with just one male and one female athlete from each nation selected in each event in a straight-final format. The team captains can be found listed here.
A number of world and Olympic champions are among those battling for the top prizes, with double Olympic gold medallist Elaine Thompson spearheading the Jamaican team, hammer world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk in the Poland squad, world indoor 60m hurdles champion Andrew Pozzi racing for GB and world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks competing for America.
A $2million prize pot is up for grabs alongside the platinum trophy, which is said to cost over a quarter of a million US dollars, while the top three competitors in each individual event will be rewarded with traditional gold, silver and bronze medals. The champions representing the winning nation will also receive platinum team medals.
Elaine Thompson, who claimed 100m and 200m titles at the Rio Olympics, races the shorter sprint in London while she’s joined on the Jamaica 4x100m team by multiple world and Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as she continues her return to the sport following the birth of her first child.
Poland’s Ewa Swoboda, South Africa’s Carina Horn and Britain’s Bianca Williams also race the 100m, while the 200m features rising sprint star Beth Dobbin, making her GB debut.
South Africa’s Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine and Britain’s Ojie Edoburun go in the men’s 100m, while the USA’s Ameer Webb races the 200m.
Olympic and world champion Caster Semenya is entered to double up in the 800m and 1500m for South Africa, while the sprint hurdles events include Ronald Levy and Danielle Williams for Jamaica, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde for France, Devon Allen and Queen Harrison for USA and Andy Pozzi for GB.
Anita Wlodarczyk, who claimed Olympic and world hammer titles in London, will hope to continue her winning ways as she goes up against USA’s Deanna Price, who threw 78.12m in June to go fourth on the world all-time list, plus British record-holder Sophie Hitchon.
USA’s world champion Sam Kendricks takes on Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe and British champion Charlie Myers in the pole vault, while the women’s competition features British record-holder Holly Bradshaw.
Lorraine Ugen leapt a world-leading 7.05m to win the British long jump title and will be looking for more of the same in front of home fans, while South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga returns to the scene of his world title win last summer in the men’s event.
Gong Lijiao contests the shot put for China, Julian Weber and Katharina Molitor the javelin for Germany and Fedrick Dacres the discus for Jamaica. Vashti Cunningham and Morgan Lake line up for the USA and GB respectively in the high jump.
The action begins at 18:45 on both Saturday and Sunday, with a full timetable and start lists available here.
» Sky Sports is to broadcast the action across its Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action, and Sky Sports Mix channels in the UK
» Check out our website and social media channels for updates and see next week’s AW magazine for full coverage