Monday 19 February 2018

The Lightning Bolt

Fastest over 200m this year (19.86) but only joint sixth fastest over 100m and yet, who would bet on anyone beating Usain Bolt?

Asafa Powell's injury withdrawal leaves two more Jamaicans -- Yohan Blake (100m) and Nickel Ashmeade (100m) -- and Trinidad's Richard Thompson (9.85) leading the queue, but there will be no one more entertaining in Daegu than the man from Trewlany who has put the fun, and chicken nuggets, into big-time athletics.

Duelling Divas

Croatian high-jumping superstar Blanka Vlasic has been injured but still couldn't stay away due to her fierce rivalry with Olympic bronze medallist Anna Chicherova of Russia. Yelena Isinbayeva's pole-vaunt crown slipped sensationally when she failed to register a jump at the last Worlds, but she's back to settle a score with Poland's Anna Rogowska and American Jennifer Suhr.

Magic Mo

Can Mo Farah, Britain's double European champion (a Somali refugee who moved to Britain in his pre-teens) possibly do the business at Worlds? Since the inaugural Worlds in 1983, no one outside of Ethiopia or Kenya has won the 10,000m. In the 5,000m, won by our own Eamonn Coghlan in 1983, it's a similar story, with only the East Africans or Morocco producing the champions.

Ethiopia's defending double champion Kenenisa Bekele hasn't raced since January but has entered the 10,000m and could yet double up just to try to spoil the 'Mo Show'.

The Bladerunner

Ireland's Jason Smyth beat Oscar Pistorius' ambition to be the first Paralympic champion to compete in an able-bodied 'major' at last year's Europeans, but the South African double-amputee has finally made it by running 45.07 this year. The cameras will follow his every move, but with Jeremy Wariner out injured, it's Granada's giant teenager Kirani James -- who hates being labelled 'the new Bolt' -- who could steal the 400m limelight.

Oh Canada!

Shotputter Dylan Armstrong missed bronze in Beijing by just 1cm and Canada has never won a global medal in throws.

He leads this year's rankings and the Americans alone have a trio of man-mountains waiting for him, including Adam Nelson, who said it was easy for Armstrong to throw 22.21m at the Canadian Championships because "he had no competition there". Saucer of milk to the men's shot circle please.

Irish Independent

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