London 2017: Ones To Watch

Oh man, I can’t wait!

The IAAF World Championships are here and London will be the host city, welcoming the world’s best athletes, as we’ll see them run fast, jump far (and high) and throw monster distances.

But there will be a tinge of sadness come 13th August. This will be the last time that Usain Bolt, the man that has revolutionised track and field, will be competing as, come the 4 x 100m, he’ll bow out and hang up his golden spikes, closing a marvellous chapter in his glittering career.

Since 2002, he’s lit up the circuit, the sport owes him massively and I’m pretty sure he’ll make his last world champs his best. Will it be as good as Beijing in 2015? Possibly. In terms of the British Team going over, this is a great opportunity for new faces to show what they are made of. There’s no Jess Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford or Richard Kilty, so now the pressure is, well, sort of, on and I’m sure the crowd will go mental when they are introduced.

With that, I decided to look at six athletes to keep an eye on ahead of London 2017. I’ll certainly be bringing in the popcorn and drinks in anticipation, as I feel there’ll be some fireworks in the pipeline…

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6. Caster Semenya

There’s been so much negativity around Caster since she burst onto the scene in 2009.

I want to focus on the present, rather than the past. The South African has been incredible to watch this year and her recent outing in Monaco reminded us of how talented she is, asking for a 55-second opening lap of the 800m…55 seconds!

If she does that kind of pacing in London, then the CR is in danger, for sure. She’ll have Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi close behind her from start to finish, however, I’m certain it’ll be a third world title for the 26-year-old.

She’s also due to compete in the 1500m, an event which you will see a familiar face in…

5. Laura Muir

I’m so excited to see how well Laura does. She’s due to complete in both the 1500m & 5000m, two events which by no means are simple, yet, the girl is so talented, regardless of a foot injury recently, she’ll run quick.

Last year was when she really stamped her authority, showing the world that she’s here and ready to put the hammer down, taking a hold of races by the scruffs of their necks, showing grit and determination when crossing the line.

It could be tough, potentially it’s five races in 10 days, BUT Laura is a very strong character, I think she’ll final in both with a podium finish in the 1500m, I’m just not sure what colour the medal will be!

4. Mo Farah

It’s another goodbye to a legend on the track but we’ll soon see him on the roads!

The man who invented the MoBot and inspired so many, including yours truly, will make his final track appearance at the worlds. He’ll be looking to defend his 5000m and 10,000m titles. If he does this, he’ll only cement himself further as Briton’s greatest ever distance athlete.

He had our hearts in our mouths at Rio last year when he fell, but to see him get up and WIN was incredibly inspiring.

I’m more than confident he’ll do the double, simply because no matter what the African athletes try, they simply cannot outmatch Sir Mo!

 

3. Christian Taylor

487477_10152079655775212_1401855277_nThe triple jumper in me (and Emma) will be keeping a firm eye on this event. Not just because it’s one we did back in the day (Emma being successful in it than I was!) but we may see one of the longest world records be broken next Thursday.

Christian Taylor has been in decent form over 2017, his season’s best stands at 18.11m and it’s not every day that you get to see a triple jumper cross that 18m barrier, it won’t all be plain sailing, however.

Bringing up the chase will be Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Will Claye, both capable of leaping huge distances and could cause an upset. I feel CT will just edge it with all three men going over 18m.

2. Nafissatou Thiam

I think it’s safe to say that watching this young lady was incredible, even though, I’m sure, we wanted Jessica Ennis-Hill to win.

At 22, Thiam showed guts to push through the pain barrier and build momentum with each event over the two days that the heptathlon was on for, battling ripped ligaments damage in her elbow. Yet, almost held together by medical tape, she still went on to win gold and has been hotly tipped to break the 7000 point mark again, even break the world record of 7291 and why not? She’s third on the all-time list for a reason!

She’ll have Katarina Johnson-Thompson constantly chasing her but I think the Belgian will take gold.

1. Wayde van Niekerk

This is the man that will look to take on the mantel of track and field in Bolt’s place.

The South African became the only man to run sub-ten seconds for the 100m, sub-twenty seconds for the 200m and sub-44 seconds for the 400m – the man is seriously talented.

He shocking smashed Michael Johnson’s 400m world record at Rio last year with 43.03. My jaw dropped when I saw that because that was a record that I NEVER thought would be broken in my lifetime.

I fully expect him to lower it in London, only if conditions are right though. He’s been running under 44 seconds consistently this season, making 400m look like a jog. He won’t be alone, the resurgence of Botswana’s Isaac Makwala with the United States’ Fred Kerley will be on his heels. It won’t be enough – he’ll be meters ahead.

*BONUS MENTIONS*

Johannes Vetter & Thomas Rohler

The constant battle between these two has been epic, with distance constantly reaching over 90 meters – this is going to be special!

Anita Włodarczyk

She’s thrown over 80 meters this season, firing her right to the top of the hammer list, within centimetres of her own world record. If she nails a throw – it’ll be, surely, historical.

Usain Bolt

Well, I couldn’t miss him out, could I?! I want him to win gold, so, so much. it’ll be perfect for him to wrap up his career – it’s hard not to put it past him, Usain for GOLD!

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