STARS TO WATCH OUT FOR...
He made a false start in Daegu in 2011 to allow compatriot and training partner Yohan Blake take the world 100m crown. But Usain Bolt is pumped up to prove that it was an aberration and he is still the world’s best — the showstopper. Barring America’s Justin Gatlin, there will be few who can throw some real challenge to Bolt in Moscow. Blake won’t defend his title because of a hamstring injury, and, former champion Tyson Gay and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell will not compete after testing positive. Although Gatlin beat Bolt in June at the Diamond League meeting in Rome, the Jamaican recorded the quickest 100m time this year — 9.85 seconds — at the Anniversary Games. Bolt, who has six Olympic gold medals to his credit, has also recorded this year’s fastest time in the 200m. “I’m back — back to regain my title. I’m even more focused than last time. So I’m going to get it done,” Bolt roared recently. Knowing his liking for the big stages, there’s only one thing to say… Watch out!
In this year’s British contingent, there’s no greater name than Mo Farah, who would look to cement his status in history by holding the Olympic and world crowns in the 5,000m & 10,000m at the same time. He would be only the second person after Kenenisa Bekele to do that. Farah will start his campaign on Saturday, trying to win the 10,000m title that eluded him in Daegu two years ago. He will then return to the Luzhniki Stadium, scene of the 1980 Olympic triumphs of legendary Britons Allan Wells, Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Daley Thompson, to defend his world 5,000m title.
Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist who finished as runner-up to Tyson Gay at the US trials, will spearhead the American challenge in 100m. Gatlin’s best time this season is 9.98 seconds. But he did hand Bolt a rare defeat in Rome earlier this year. Gatlin, 31, will be looking to rehabilitate himself after his four-year ban for doping, which ended in 2010. Should he manage to beat Bolt again at the world meet, he might just put the IAAF in a nightmarish scenario of crowning a twice-banned doper the world champion “I have to concentrate,” said Gatlin recently.
Kirani James, the dazzling Grenadian and the reigning world and Olympic 400 metres champion, will be another athlete who will be keenly followed during this year’s Championships. James, who lost only one race this year, is on track to close off his 2013 season with a successful defence of the title he won at the 2011 Championships, which was also Grenada’s first ever gold medal in the meet. He had won the Olympic gold in 43.94s in London last year. That he holds the top two timings in 400m so far this year year (43.96s and 44.02s) shows his dominance.
Yelena Isinbayeva — the queen of pole vault — is planning to retire in style this August at World Championships. Isinbayeva had walked away empty-handed from the previous two summer tournaments – in Berlin in 2009 and Daegu in 2011 – raising doubts over the Russian record holder’s consistency on the big stage. In the 2009 edition, Yelena failed miserably. In 2011, in Daegu, she once again faltered. At the London Olympics, she just about managed a bronze. This time around, American Jennifer Suhr will be the Russian’s main rival.
... AND THOSE WHO WILL BE MISSED
The Jamaican is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
The American had to withdraw after testing positive.
The double amputee is preparing for a murder trial.
The Kenyan pulled out with a knee injury.
The first edition took place in 1983 in Helsinki from August 7-14
Initially, the event was organised every four years. However, from 1991, it became a biennial event
In the inaugural event in 1983, an estimated 1,300 athletes from 154 countries participated
The only three countries to win 100 or more medals are: United States (275), Russia (151) & Kenya (100)
United States is the only country to win more than 100 gold medals (132)
Anju Bobby George (long jump), who won the bronze medal in 2003, in Paris is the only Indian to win a medal at World Championships
Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey has the distinction of winning most medals (14)
Among men, Carl Lewis has the distinction of winning most medals (10)
Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson & Allyson Felix (among women), all from the US, have the distinction of winning most gold medals — 8
Portugal’s Susana Feitor made the most appearances — 11 (1991 to 2011)
indians in fray
Women’s 4x400m relay —
Ashwini Akkunji, Anu Mariam Jose, Tintu Luka, MR Poovamma, Nirmala, Anilda Thomas
3000m steeplechase — Sudha Singh
Discus throw — Vikas Gowda
Triple jump — Renjith Maheswary
20km walk — Irfan Kolothum Thodi, Chandan Singh, Gurmeet Singh
50km walk — Sandeep Kumar, Basanta Bahadur Rana
Women’s 20km walk — Khushbir Kaur