02 August 2017
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Ones to watch at the IAAF World Athletics Championships

August 2, 2017
Holly Bradshaw - Dina Asher Smith

The best track and field athletes from across the globe will be going for gold in London from August 4-13 as the UK capital plays host to the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

Sophie Hitchon 2
Sophie Hitchon photo: Matt Lewis British Athletics via Getty Images

It’s the biggest event to be staged at the London Stadium since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, while the marathon and race walk events will take the excitement out on to the streets as the courses pass some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

With so much action taking place across 15 packed sessions, Jessica Whittington, web editor at Athletics Weekly, highlights some British stars to watch out for as they look to make the most of the home advantage.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

What? Heptathlon and high jump

When? Heptathlon: Saturday August 5 and Sunday August 6. High jump: qualification Thursday August 10 19:10, final Saturday August 12 19:05

If performances earlier this year at the Hypo Meeting in Götzis are anything to go by, the heptathlon is set to be one of the stand-out events of the championships. In Austria, Belgium’s Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam led one of the greatest ever heptathlon competitions as she broke the 7000-point barrier with her meeting record of 7013 points to go third on the world all-time list. Such was the standard of the contest, Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson missed the top three despite improving her PB to 6691 points for the best fourth-place score in history.

A move to train in France has left Johnson-Thompson happy and healthy and the Rio Olympic sixth-placer now targets a first senior heptathlon medal. She is also set to contest the high jump – an event in which she is the British record holder with 1.98m – later in the week.

While Jessica Ennis-Hill’s retirement last year means she won’t be defending her title, the London 2012 Olympic champion will still receive a medal as she belatedly collects her 2011 world gold at a ceremony on the Sunday evening.

Laura Muir

What? 1500m and 5000m

When? 1500m: heats Friday August 4 19:35, semi-finals Saturday August 5 19:35, final Monday August 7 21:50. 5000m: heats Thursday August 10 18:30, final Sunday August 13 19:35

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Laura Muir contests a 1500m and 5000m double in London as she looks to follow up her European indoor 1500m and 3000m success in March with more medals.

The 24-year-old Scottish star broke the British 1500m record twice last summer, with a best of 3:55.22 from Paris, and continued to set new national marks over the winter. Although her start to the season was interrupted by a foot injury, Muir has impressed since, though she will face some top opposition in the form of Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan in the 1500m, and Hellen Obiri and Almaz Ayana in the 5000m, plus Genzebe Dibaba, the world 1500m record-holder, in both.

Sophie Hitchon (pictured above)

What? Hammer throw

When? Qualification Saturday August 5 10:35 and 12:05, final Monday August 7 19:00

At the 2015 World Championships, Sophie Hitchon improved her British hammer record to finish fourth in Beijing. A year later she went even further to bag Olympic bronze in Rio with 74.54m. The 26-year-old can clearly perform under pressure and with the support of a home crowd together with the experience of having competed in the same stadium at the 2012 Olympics, she’ll be on the hunt for a first world medal.

The event is set to be dominated by world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland, who has the seven best throws in the world this year to her name, topped by the second-best throw in history of 82.87m from the end of July.

Holly Bradshaw - Dina Asher Smith

Holly Bradshaw left, Dina Asher-Smith right – photo: Matt Lewis British Athletics via Getty Images

GB 4x100m team

What? 4x100m relay

When? Heats Saturday August 12 10:35, final 21:30

The British record-breaking quartet which claimed Olympic bronze in Rio – Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith (above right) and Daryll Neita – all feature in the squad and British 100m and 200m record-holder Asher-Smith is finding form following her foot injury earlier this year.

Joined by Shannon Hylton, Bianca Williams and Corinne Humphreys, the GB squad will be looking to make an impact alongside the likes of strong teams from Jamaica and the USA.

Lorraine Ugen

What? Long jump

When? Qualification Wednesday August 9 19:10, final Friday August 11 19:10

Lorraine Ugen missed out on the London Olympic Games by a single centimetre five years ago but has demonstrated her fine form with a UK indoor record of 6.97m plus European indoor silver and British Championships gold this year and will be looking to make the most of finally being on the global stage in the London Stadium.

She’s again joined by her fellow British Olympians from Rio – Jazmin Sawyers and Shara Proctor – as they form part of a field also featuring the three medallists from Brazil – Americans Tianna Bartoletta and Brittney Reese and Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic.

Holly Bradshaw (above left)

What? Pole vault

When? Qualification Friday August 4 19:45, final Sunday August 6 19:00

It has been a tough five years of injury struggles since the 2012 Olympics for Holly Bradshaw but the British pole vault record-holder says the experiences have made her stronger ahead of her return to the London Stadium.

The 25-year-old has already improved her own national outdoor record twice this season, with a recent best of 4.81m cleared in Germany. There looks to be a brilliant battle in store with just four centimetres separating the top six on season’s bests, led by Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi with 4.85m.

Jessica Whittington, AW
Sportsister

Want to read more? Get set for the championships by checking out Athletics Weekly’s website here www.athleticsweekly.com and preview edition which includes an event-by-event look ahead to the action together with news, interviews and more. Out Thursday August 3

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