World record holder Elena Isinbaeva of Russia in flight during the women's pole vault (Getty Images) © Copyright
Doha 2010 – Isinbayeva tops the bill on action-packed Day 3 - Sunday preview
Yelena Isinbayeva in the women's Pole Vault is one of the faces Qatar has been waiting for. After surviving a qualifying scare where the Russian required three attempts to reach 4.55m, it's possible that the reigning champion may enter the competition before everyone else has reached their top height, but it's also possible the leading lady of elevation may simply wait out her aspiring challengers and vault for height when her victory is assured.
Spotlight remains on Trammell, Robles and Liu in the 60m Hurdles
The men's 60m Hurdles final is another event which caught the imagination of fans long before the athletes arrived in Doha, and with Terrence Trammell, Dayron Robles and Liu Xiang through the first round on Friday, Sunday is likely to see the first global final with all three star hurdlers in the blocks since Osaka in 2007. Though Ladji Doucoure was unable to advance, David Oliver will be just one of the other thirteen athletes hoping to capitalize on any missed chances between the first three. The hurdlers will run semi-final rounds early in the program, then their final as one of the last events of the Championships.
Jones-Ferrette and Jeter square off
Immediately before the hurdles will be the women's 60m dash final, and the year's leaders LaVerne Jones-Ferrette and Carmelita Jeter are on course to clash in the final. Their semi-finals are the first track event of the evening.
Can Vili be dethroned?
After qualifying rounds on Saturday a nine-woman final is set for the women's Shot Put, and the clash is almost certain to be between defending champion Valerie Vili, undefeated in this event since 2007, and the current world leader Nadzeya Ostapchuk, whose 21.70m toss earlier this year was the best mark seen since the 1980s.
Also on the infield, the men's High Jump promises to be a two-way duel between the 2006 champion Yaroslav Rybakov and his Russian teammate Ivan Ukhov, owner of the best PB in the field with a 2.40m leap. The men's Triple Jump and women's Long Jump will round out field events, with defending champion Naide Gomes leading qualifying in the women's event and Yoandris Betanzos leading the men - but with 2004 World Indoor (and Olympic) champion Christian Olsson clearly also ready to challenge.
Lagat v. T. Bekele in the 3000m
On the track we'll see another Lagat/Bekele clash in the men's 3000m, this one between the Osaka 1500m/5000m double winner and defending champion Tariku Bekele, younger brother of the man who stopped Bernard Lagat's title defense at 5000m last summer in Berlin. Lagat displayed total control of his qualifying heat despite not moving for the lead until the last half-lap, but in addition to Bekele he'll face a tough field of young challengers.
Burka puts title on the line
The women's 1500m should be a chance for Gelete Burka to defend the title she earned in Valencia two years ago, but the rounds in that event on Friday saw plenty of jostling for position. Burka, who was taken out of title contention in Berlin due to aggressive positioning by another of Sunday's finalists, may wish to make the pace fast and keep herself out of trouble by staying well in front of the field.
Pierce, Meadows and Savinova favourites in the women’s 800, can Kaki be stopped in the men’s?
The women's 800m finalists will have had a full day of rest since their Friday rounds as well, unlike the men who ran a semi-final round on Saturday. Jennifer Meadows and Anna Pierce were the heat winners and are expected to be the leading contenders, but Russia's Mariya Savinova has the speed and savvy to challenge either or both in the final. The only country to send two men to the 800m final was Sudan, with defending champion Abubaker Kaki apparently unpassable in his qualifying and semi-final heats; the strongest challenge to Sudanese dominance is likely to come from Kenyan Boaz Lalang, a training partner of Lagat's.
After open 400m defeat, can Russian women avenge in the 4x400?
The evening and the championships will conclude with the traditional last event of indoor meets: the 4x400m relay. The women will run a straight final before the sprint finals; the men ran their rounds on Saturday, and will likely be a duel between the USA and Jamaica, who previewed that race in the first round as they ran to the two fastest qualifying times. Spoilers may be the speedy Dominican Republic team, which includes U.S. veteran Alvin Harrison and the Dominican Republic's only Olympic gold medalist, Felix Sanchez. With Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson on the U.S. team, the last five World Champions in the 400m hurdles will all be running the relay final; Jackson in particular will be spoiling for a fast race after his disappointing 400m final.
Russia has their eye on yet another title in the women's relay, and their challenger as usual will be the foursome from the USA, including three-time 200m World Champion Allyson Felix as well as 400m individual champion Debbie Dunn. Russia will bring 400m runner-up Tatyana Firova.
Parker Morse for the IAAF
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- World record holder Elena Isinbaeva of Russia in flight during the women's pole vault (Getty Images) © Copyright
- World record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba flies over a hurdle in the 60m hurdle heats in Doha (Getty Images) © Copyright
- USA's Bernard Lagat and Ethiopia's Tariku Bekele compete in the 3,000m heat in Doha (Getty Images) © Copyright
- USA's Anna Pierce on her way to winning her heat of the 800m in Doha (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Christian Olsson of Sweden competes in the men's triple jump qualification in Doha (Getty Images) © Copyright
- LaVerne Jones-Ferrette of The Virgin Islands competes in the womens 60m heats (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Ivan Ukhov of Russia competes in the men's high jump in Doha (Getty Images) © Copyright