Unlike their male counterparts, the world’s top women in the 100m do not shy away from racing each other on the international circuit, but that doesn’t make it any easier to predict the winner at major championships.
USA’s defending champion Carmelita Jeter has had an erratic season, which was threatened by a mid-season injury sustained in Shanghai.
The 33-year-old has since recovered and returned to sub-11 territory in the heats of the 100m at the IAAF Diamond League in London last month, but then withdrew from the final as a precaution.
If Jeter makes it on to the podium in Moscow, she will tie Merlene Ottey’s record as a four-time medallist in the 100m at the World Championships. Should she take gold, Jeter will become just the second back-to-back World 100m champion.
But in a high-quality year for the event, Jeter’s season’s best of 10.93 puts her just 10th on this year’s world list.
No fewer than 12 women have broken the 11-second barrier this year. To date, 2000 is the only season with more sub-11-second sprinters when 13 women dipped under the mark.
Jeter’s wildcard entry means that the US will have four women in the event, but such is USA’s depth, they will be missing Barbara Pierre, who has clocked 10.85 this year.
The top three at the US championships were English Gardner, Octavious Freeman and Alexandria Anderson, all of them smashing their personal bests and running well below 11 seconds. All of them have the ability to run times that will challenge for medals, but their relative lack of experience at major championships could come into play.
Double Olympic gold medallist and 2009 World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leads the 2013 list with 10.77. The Jamaican is a reliable championship performer too and it will be a surprise if she doesn’t feature on the podium, but in her last race before Moscow, she was beaten by Blessing Okagbare.
The Nigerian has developed a habit of causing upsets, having beaten Fraser-Pryce recently in London where she twice broke the African record: first with 10.86 in the heats, then followed by 10.79 in the final.
To date, no African woman has ever won a medal in the 100m or 200m at the World Championships, but Okagbare could be the athlete to put an end to that slightly surprising statistic.
So too could Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure. The US-based 25-year-old took the silver medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships and then made the finals of the 100m and 200m at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
She is also gaining a reputation as a solid performer, defeating Allyson Felix in Rome and Fraser-Pryce in Monaco, albeit both races being over 200m.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste took bronze in Daegu two years ago and is even faster this year, having broken her own national record with 10.83 in Port of Spain.
All but one 100m final in the history of the World Championships has featured at least one European sprinter. Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova, the sole European representative in the Daegu 100m final, leads the charge again this year. Ukraine’s Mariya Ryemyen and 2010 European champion Verena Sailer also have high hopes of lining up in the final.
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Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF