Next weekend sees the start of one the more eagerly anticipated World Athletics Championships in Beijing due to Bolt vs Gatlin and the recent doping stories.
Here are my predictions to a few of the events.
Women’s 100 metres
- Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica)
- Tori Bowie (US)
- Dafne Schippers (The Netherlands)
Fraser-Pryce is the banker of the meet for me. The question is can she go 10.6 seconds? Schippers may just run her own race and sneak medal.
Result: 1. Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, 2. Bowie, 3. Schippers
Review: Got the top 3. Just wrong order for minor medals. Shelly-Ann had stroll in the park. Knew Dafne would surprise many. 200m win should be easy for her.
Women’s 200 metres (oops changed round my predictions at the last minute)
- Elaine Thompson (Jamaica)
- Dafne Schippers (The Netherlands)
- Dina Asher-Smith (UK)
After seeing the semis I had to update my predictions. I cannot see Schippers catching Thompson. Smith’s stock continues to rise. But its Elaine in 21.8 for me.
Result 1. Schippers, 2. Thompson 3. Veronica Campbell-Brown
Review: With both Schippers and Thompson going under 21.7 seconds ranks this as one of the great 200m ever run. Veronica Campbell-Brown continues to defy the doubters with another medal. Olympics next year will be interesting if Allyson Felix & Fraser-Pryce decide to do the 200m as well.
Women’s 400 metres
- Shaunae Miller (Bahamas)
- Allyson Felix (US)
- Christine Day (Jamaica)
Felix is the class athlete. I just feel Miller has the finishing speed to trouble the great American. Day should sneak in ahead of compatriot Stephanie McPherson.
This race highlights why at times the term World Championship sounds hollow as 11 of the top 20 athletes in the world (on times) are from the US. Yet only a maximum of 3-4 can compete.
Result: 1. Felix, 2. Miller, 3. Shericka “I don’t like the 400m” Jackson (Jamaica)
Review: Felix cemented her greatness. Miller and Jackson – both 21 year olds – have won their first medals.
Women’s 100m Hurdles
- Dawn Harper-Nelson (US)
- Brianna Rollins (US)
- Sharika Nelvis (US)
The race of the Championship I am most looking forward to seeing – on the female side. Defending champion Rollins will be hard to beat. But Harper-Nelson is the fighter in the pack.
13 of the top women are from the US yet only a maximum of 4 will compete. [14 if you count Cindy Ofili who switched from the US to run for Britain this year].
Result: 1. Danielle Williams (JAMAICA), 2. Cindy Roleder (Germany) 3. Alina Talay (Belarus)
Review: 2 Williams sisters (Shermaine) got to the final and it’s not tennis. The result of the championship for me. Jamaica was just rocking all morning. No one expected this result. Just crazy. Respect to her coach Lennox Graham. The Americans all had their own nightmares. Never bet in a major sprint hurdle races.
Men’s 100 metres
- Usain Bolt (Jamaica) – If he runs
- Justin Gatlin US)
- Tyson Gay (US)
If Bolt wins it will be a long night. If Gatlin wins then I’ll just go to bed and give the following day’s events a miss.
Result: 1. Bolt, 2. Gatlin, 3. Andre De Grasse (Canada)
Review: Bolt wins as expected. Only Bolt can stumble in a race (semi final) and still run under 10 seconds. Really pleased for De Grasse getting the bronze. The abuse of Gatlin is too much. Media calling him “evil” is just sick. BBC commentators Cram and Foster should be ashamed of their bias coverage against Gatlin. Borders on incitement to hate.
Men’s 200 metres
- Justin Gatlin (US)
- Andre De Grasse (Canada) – didn’t run
- Zharnel Hughes (UK)
If Bolt’s win the 100m I cannot see him so keen to run the 200m. He’s hardly run this season and to do 3 rounds of 200m may be too much for him.
Markham lad De Grasse’s lack of running outside of North America could be a hindrance to his gold medal chances. De Grasse’s 19.88 victory (from lane 8) at the recent Pan Am Games shows he could give Gatlin a fright.
Result: 1. Bolt, 2. Gatlin, 3. Anoso Jobodwana (South Africa)
Review: Never expected Bolt to do the 200m. But when he said yesterday “Justin Gatlin cannot beat me” the writing was on the wall. Greatness and an honour for all us to be alive to witness this amazing man.
Men’s 400 metres
- Wade Van Niekerk (South Africa)
- Kirani James (Grenada)
- Steven Gardiner (Bahamas)
Must be the first time that 3 men in the same year have gone under the magical 44 seconds benchmark and none are Americans.
Will any Americans or Europeans make the final? Qatar’s 17-year-old Abdalelah Haroun could be a surprise finalist.
Many felt James was unbeatable this season but Van Niekerk proved otherwise. The South Africa looks to have a better turn of foot in the final 100m. The bronze could go to anyone from Gardiner, Michael Cedenio (Trinidad), Abadelleleh Haroun (Qatar) or Isaac Makwala (Botswana).
The strength in depth of men’s 400m in the Caribbean (Trinidad, Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica) and Africa (Botswana, South Africa) is frightening. For me the race of the meet on the mens side. Given the depth of quality on show the semi finals alone are not to be missed.
Result: 1. Van Niekerk, 2. LaShawn Merritt (US), 3. James
Review: With the top 3 finishing well under 44 seconds the final lived up to expectations. One of the great 400m finals. Next year could see Michael Johnson’s world record of 43.18 finally go.
Men’s Triple Jump
- Christian Taylor (US)
- Pedro Pablo Pirchado (Cuba)
- Lucky Spectator
A hop, step and a skip and Jonathan Edwards world record (18.29m) is under serious threat by both Taylor and Pirchado. Both have thrilled this year with their exhibition of top class jump this season. Who comes third will get the best view.
Result: 1. Taylor, 2 Pirchado 3. Nelson Evora (Portugal)
Review: With Taylor’s 18.21 the event lived up to all the hypen and great to see former champion Evora back in the big time.
As the medallist stand on the podium to receive their medals some of us will thinking hmm which ones are doped up?
Maybe the organisers should do away with medal ceremonies and have a Oscar glitzy style awards event months later after all the medallists have be tested and cleared.