LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 12 – Day nine highlights for the IAAF World Championships on Saturday:
Men’s 5,000 metres final
Mo Farah bids adieu to the track in terms of championships and will hope to add a fourth successive world crown in the event to his impressive tally of titles which if successful will also see him complete a fifth global double in the 5 and 10k (two Olympics and three world championships). He looked well in control in his semi-final but there are threats primarily perhaps from 17-year-old Ethiopian Selemon Barega, who may be the youngest ever finalist but showed in his semi-final he has a mature head on his shoulders. If he wins he will be the first athlete to have swept the event at youth, junior and senior level.
Men and women’s 4x100m relay finals
The second of the big farewells takes place as Usain Bolt looks to lead his Jamaica team to a final golden moment and gain some consolation for his bronze in the 100m individual final. Their historic rivals the United States, led by his 100m conqueror Justin Gatlin and silver medallist Christian Coleman, look primed to ruin the script again. However, baton changes are of prime importance and organisers will be praying the Jamaicans who run the heat don’t foul it up for Bolt. The women’s relay should also be a Jamaica v USA showdown — though both of their stars have had problems: Olympic champion Elaine Thompson has been sick whilst 100m world champion Tori Bowie injured herself in winning gold.
Women’s 100 metres hurdles final
Australian hurdling great Sally Pearson could well add a second world title to her trophy cabinet and banish memories of two years of injury hell. The 30-year-old posted the fastest time in the semi-finals in stark contrast to the 1/6 on favourite world record-holder Kendra Harrison who squeezed into the final as the second and last fastest loser. Her weakness was seen as being lack of experience in major championships and Pearson has buckets of it including an Olympic gold in the same stadium in 2012.
Men’s javelin final
The event is one of the most loaded of the world championships. Germans Johannes Vetter and Thomas Rohler, the Olympic champion, have engaged in a thrilling duel all season. Vetter last month leapfrogged Rohler to go into second place on the world all-time list, with a throw of 94.44m in Lucerne. Defending champion Julius Yego of Kenya, with a season’s best of 87.97m, Czech Jakub Vadlejch (88.02), Finn Tero Pitkamaki (88.27) and Greek Ionnis Kiriazis (88.01m) are sure to be in the mix for the medals.
Women’s high jump final
Perhaps the best chance for a Russian athlete competing as a neutral to win an event: since winning the world title in Beijing two years ago, Maria Lasitskene has won 33 of her 36 competitions indoors and outdoors and arrives in London on a run of 24 competition wins. Lasitskene is the only jumper to surpass the two-metre barrier outdoors this summer – a feat which she has achieved 11 times, as well as twice during the indoor season. The only other jumper to clear the two-metre mark this season is Lithuania’s Airine Palsyte, who did so twice indoors. Olympic champion Ruth Beitia of Spain, at the age of 37, will aim to put a raft of injury problems behind her in a podium push.