Former world champion hurdler Colin Jackson gives us the medal chances of the top British athletics stars at the London World Championships…
Sports fans will be glued to the World Athletics Championships at the London Stadium, starting this Friday, August 4-13, and they can enjoy the main coverage on BBC1 and BBC2 hosted by Gabby Logan, Michael Johnson and Colin Jackson.
We talked Colin – who many will remember won the World Championship 100m hurdles in 1993 in a world record time – and asked us who were the Brits to watch out for…
10,000m (final Friday, Aug 4); 5,000m (final Sat, Aug 12)
“The 10,000m final on the first night of the championships is going to be really important for the whole team. Mo’s a clear favourite and he’ll want start off the team with a win. But do bear in mind anything can happen – between now and then he could pull a hamstring or get a cold on the night, anything, and who knows how the race will pan out? Last year in the Olympic final he fell over, but still won.
“Right now it’s difficult to pick Mo’s main rivals as we don’t even know the Kenyan line-up yet, but of course his challenge will always come from East Africa – Kenyan or Ethiopian athletes.
“As it’s Mo’s last season on the track before he concentrates on marathon running, I’m sure it we’ll give him extra impetus… and it’s a home crowd! When it’s a home championship runners tend to find that extra 1-2 per cent that’s need to push you across the line. It will be an emotional time for him. Again it’s about handling those emotions because nervous energy gets extracted from you and that can make it difficult to perform.
“I still think Mo’s got it in him to double up and do the 5,000m a week after the 10,000m. He’s done it time and again in Olympics and World Championships, so long as he’s not too emotionally drained.”
Heptathlon (Sat and Sun, Aug 5 and 6)
“She’s now moved to France, changed her coach and her focus to give her that opportunity. If she can throw the javelin much better than at the Olympics last year she’ll be in the medal hunt. Katarina has looked in very good shape, competing well in the Diamond League, but the Olympic champion, Thiam from Belgium, has raised her level and gone over 7,000 points which is incredibly rare for the seven events.”
Hammer (final Monday, Aug 7)
“Sophie did so well grabbing a bronze in Rio last year, but beating the Polish hammer thrower who won gold would be a tall order. But now Sophie’s competing on home turf and has the confidence of that Olympic medal behind her it will certainly help every time she steps into that throwing circle. The crowd will know about her this time and be giving her attention and extra cheers.”
1500m (final, Monday Aug 7)
“Laura’s the Commonwealth champion and has been in stunning form, indoors and out, this year. She’s got great endurance and great speed at the moment. But she’ll have her hands full in the 1500m with the young Kenyan lady Hellen Obiri, who beat her recently at the Diamond League quite comfortably. Also throw into the mix Dibaba from Ethiopia who’d been just shy of the world record for the mile. As long as Laura stays competitive until the last lap she can definitely get on that rostrum, but she needs to get everything right in the race to get there.”
110m hurdles (final Monday Aug 7)
“Andrew’s really great. I love him loads. He’s great tactically, he’s got good speed, he’s a good little sprinter as well, but he’s got all the right attributes. One of the things he knows he’s got to do is at the back end of the race he’s really got to keep his cool. if he manages to do that he’s more than capable of getting on the rostrum and winning a medal.”
100m hurdles (final Saturday Aug 12)
“Of all the events, the women’s 100m hurdles is the most competitive. I can see Cindy making the final, but there are some tough ladies in the mix, particularly the Australian former Olympic champion Sally Pearson, who’s back in form and Kelly Hanson the American world record holder. Cindy’s older sister Tiffany Porter would have been a contender, but she’s been injured this year and isn’t competing.”
100m (final Saturday, Aug 5)
“Out of the Brit sprinters, CJ’s probably running the most consistently. He’s had some great wins in the Diamond League so that will fill him with confidence going into this competition. They may do three semi finals meaning it’s the luck of the draw – you could have the top four in the world in a semi. I’d say Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin, Yohan Blake are going to be the main contenders as usual. CJ will also be part of the 4x100m relay who’ll be in with a chance of a medal.”
Marathon (final Sunday Aug 6)
“He made a bit of a breakthrough at the London marathon, but it’s very different when you go into a World Championship marathon and try to perform. Callum’s got good potential, but you’ve got to hope he can improve his performance. Of course, as always with the marathon, the African athletes will be hard to keep up with.”
100m (final Sunday, Aug 6)
“Des was one of the seven young athletes chosen to help light the Olympic cauldron at London 2012. It’s great to see her now in the GB team competing at a world championship five years later and in that same wonderful stadium. It’s important for younger athletes like Des to gain vital experience as she’ll be rubbing shoulders with the best in the world. In Rio she made the semi finals, so it would be great if she could get one stage further. She’s fit, healthy and she’s only a kid (21) so she’s got a future…”