The second part of this post (men’s predictions here) looks at the likely contenders in the women’s track events at the World Championships. So in order of importance distance, here they are.
Winner: Carmelita Jeter
Outside Chance: Veronica Campbell-Brown
This is Jeter’s year. She has been superb over 100 and 200 metres but she is going to win this one. Campbell-Brown will win if Jeter has an off day.
Winner: Veronica Campbell-Brown
Outside Chance: Allyson Felix
Under normal circumstances I would pick Felix, but it looks as though the schedule for this year’s championships will make things very difficult for her. It will be a fantastic feat if she can emerge victorious in all of her events after competing 7 times in 8 days, but she has not performed well on occasions where she has attempted the double this year. The sensible money is on Veronica Campbell-Brown to win this one.
Winner: Allyson Felix
Outside Chance: Amantle Montsho
Allyson Felix will win the quarter-mile. She should be fresh for this event, which takes place at the the start of the championships. Amantle Montsho has been on good form this year and will be her main rival for gold, as well as the two Russian athletes who have also gone under 50 seconds this year.
Winner: Kenia Sinclair
Outside Chance: Caster Semenya
Kenia Sinclair has not been beaten this year at 800m or 1500m. Convincing enough? Five women have run faster times, four of which were posted in the same race at the Russian Championships. One of those women is Maria Savinova, who looks the most likely to beat Sinclair. Obviously you cannot ingore Caster Semenya, the reigning champion. On a good day she will beat everyone; on a bad day she won’t get through her heat. It remains to be seen whether Semenya can recapture her form of two years ago.
Winner: Maryam Jamal
Outside Chance: Gelete Burka
Another athlete whose performances vary from world-class to mediocre is Maryam Jamal. However, she found her form at the right time in the last two world championships and should do the same this time. Gelete Burka is only ranked 17th in the world this year so is probably a surprising inclusion on this list. After being pushed off the track in the 2009 final, she will be desperate to gain the gold medal that she will feel belongs to her.
Winner: Vivian Cheruiyot
Outside Chance: Meseret Defar
Neither Vivian Cheruiyot nor Meseret Defar has been beaten this year but only one can win in Daegu. I pick Cheruiyot to win, as she is the defending champion and has just run a super-fast 14:20 in Stockholm. It is hard to see beyond those two, but 10,000m champion Linet Masai may threaten the two favourites.
Winner: Vivian Cheruiyot
Outside Chance: Sally Kipyego
With Tirunesh Dibaba absent, this is Cheruiyot’s to lose. She will want to push to pace from the gun to avoid a final-lap burn up against Linet Masai, who finished strongly to win two years ago. Sally Kipyego and Shalane Flanagan have posted sub-31 times this year and will rightly consider themselves contenders.
Winner: Edna Kiplagat
Outside Chance: Bezunesh Bekele
Edna Kiplagat has run three major marathons to date, winning in LA and New York and setting a 2:20 personal best in London earlier this year. She is the one to watch, whilst the main competition will come from Ethiopia.
Winner: Sofia Assefa
Outside Chance: Birtukan Adamu
What? No Kenyan winner? Having predicted a Kenyan winner for all the distances so far, why have I not picked the world leader Milcah Chemos? Well, Sofia Assefa has been in good form in 2011, only failing to break 9:30 once (at altitude in March) and looked strong winning in Birmingham last month too. It is probably foolish to say this but she might cause an upset. Her young compatriot Adamu set a world junior record this year.
Winner: Sally Pearson
Outside Chance: Tiffany Ofili-Porter
Sally Pearson is having a great season. At the Birmingham Grand Prix she set a national record and world-leading time of 12:48 and is the one to beat. Americans Dannielle Carruthers and Kellie Wells are her main rivals and Tiffany Ofili-Porter, formerly an American herself, could sneak a medal if she continues her current good form.
Winner: Kaliese Spencer
Outside Chance: Perri Shakes-Drayton
Kaliese Spencer has been the most consistent hurlder this year and leads the Diamond League points race. Zuzana Hejnova is second and has posted some impressive times this year, particularly for someone competing in so many events. Perri Shakes-Drayton has good closing speed and recently won both the 400 and 400 hurdles at the British Trials.
I’ll be pleased if half of these are correct.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not responsible for the money that will inevitably be lost if you put bets on all of these athletes to win. In fact, you are probably better off betting against all of my suggestions.
I’m really excited about the World Championships, which take place in a few weeks’ time. Most countries have had their trials now and the Diamond League takes a break after this weekend’s Crystal Palace meet. It’s then time for the athletes to put in a few more weeks of hard training before Championships begin at the end of the month. Here are my predictions for what will happen in each track event, starting with the men.
Winner: Asafa Powell
Outside Chance: Christophe Lemaitre
Asafa Powell leads the world rankings for 2011 with 9.78 and has been the most consistent performer in the event this year. With Usain Bolt seemingly struggling to regain his 2009 form which helped him break his world records, and with Tyson Gay missing through injury, the door is open for the bridesmaid Powell to shake off his unwanted ‘choker’ tag and win. Christophe Lemaitre could threaten him though; despite only being the 9th fastest man in the world this year, Lemaitre has shown he can run well in championships and appears to be peaking at the right time.
Winner: Usain Bolt
Outside Chance: Walter Dix
This is not a vintage year for the men’s 200. To date, only two men have broken 20 seconds, which does not compare favourably with the 7 last year or 6 the year before. For this reason, Bolt should have enough to win, though Beijing bronze medallist Walter Dix may provide a bit of competition.
Winner: LaShawn Merritt
Outside Chance: Kevin Borlée
LaShawn Merritt returns from his drugs ban and could well win one of the most open events in this year’s championships. His chances could well be ‘enhanced’ by the absence of compatriot Jeremy Wariner. Tied with him in the world rankings list is Kevin Borlée from Belgium who had an excellent 2010 in which he won the 400m at the European Championships. It will be interesting to see how Ocsar Pistorius does, even though he shouldn’t be there.
Winner: David Rudisha
Outside Chance: Abubaker Kaki
Kaki’s name is only included here for consistency’s sake. In reality, no one but Rudisha will get a look in. The only question mark over Rudisha is his record in unpaced races, but given he has run over a second quicker than his nearest rivals this year (Kiprop doesn’t count as he’s not competing in the 800), it is hard to see him having any problems. This is a race for silver.
Winner: Silas Kiplagat
Outside Chance: Nick Willis
Silas Kiplagat has been on fire this year. He made his breakthrough in 2010, bursting onto the scene with a 3:29 as an unknown 20 year old. He backed this up with Commonwealth gold and some dominating performances on the circuit this summer. The Canova-coached athlete has shown he can win slow races with his brutal kick, or lead from the front and burn his rivals off. Nick Willis is a strong tactician and could work his way through the field to win a tactical race.
Winner: Bernard Lagat
Outside Chance: Isiah Koech
Mo Farah is a marked man. It feels wrong as a fellow countryman of his to doubt his ability to win gold but all I can see is a target on his back. While my heart says Farah, my head says Lagat (and it may still turn out that Farah doesn’t run if you believe some reports) Bernard Lagat has won this title before and is in his best ever 5k form. And he still has the speed over the last 200 to shake off anyone who is still left with him. If not old man Lagat, then young man Koech could prevail. Whether or not you believe his alleged age of 17, his performances this year have been outstanding and he poses even more of a threat to Lagat than Eliud Kipchoge or Tariku Bekele do.
Winner: Mo Farah
Outside Chance: Zersenay Tadese
In 2003, Haile Gebrselassie was king of the track. Rarely beaten over any distance, but especially the 10,000m, he was not only challenged but beaten by a young pretender to his crown. His name was Kenenisa Bekele. In 2011, Kenenisa Bekele still holds that crown, along with the notable distinction of never having been beaten over 25 laps. This year, the pretender goes by the name of Mo Farah and is in the form of his life. No one has beaten him this year and he will not be beaten here either. The three former world cross country champions Merga, Bekele and Tadese will make it a thrilling race but the Londoner will come out on top.
Winner: Gebre Gebremariam
Outside Chance: Abel Kirui
Gebremariam has impressed since moving from track and cross country to the roads, and his two efforts over 42 km have resulted in a win at New York and a third place at Boston, where he was only beaten by the two fastest men ever. He should secure victory here to add to his other world title in cross country. Abel Kirui should be in good shape too, having paced Moses Mosop to his 30k world record at Eugene and could defend the gold medal he won in Berlin two years ago. Hard to see beyond Kenya or Ethiopia in this event.
Winner: Brimin Kipruto
Outside Chance: Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad
You can’t go for anyone else. Kipruto was amazing at the Monaco meet two weeks ago and was a decent final barrier clearance away from breaking Shaheen’s world record. Paul Koech, the man who helped Kipruto to that time, must surely be given the wildcard spot by Athletics Kenya if their chasers are to deliver the anticipated 1-2-3 in Korea. Mahiedine Mekhissi has also been in good form this year and if he can show some more of his now famous ‘fighting spirit’ he could be the one to break the Kenyan stranglehold on this event.
Winner: David Oliver
Outside Chance: Andy Turner
Never previously a follower of hurdles, I have been gripped by the event this year, such is the quality of the competition. The winner could come from one of three countries: China (Liu), Cuba (Robles) or the USA (Oliver). As the only man under 13 seconds this year Oliver looks the most likely, but it is a brave person who bets against either of the two previous Olympic champions. Andy Turner could return to Britain with a medal round his neck is he has a very good day.
Winner: Bershawn Jackson
Outside Chance: Dai Greene
Jackson’s record in major championships is unmatched by any of his nearest rivals, so he should go in as the favourite. LJ Van Zyl and Angelo Taylor look like his main rivals based on performances this year. Dai Greene is a very strong finisher and a good lane draw in the final might give him a chance of a medal.
I will write a follow-up post on September 5th when I have been proven wrong.