Dawn Harper Nelson in the 100m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Beijing, China

Preview: women’s 100m hurdles – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

The three fastest athletes in the field – Sharika Nelvis, Dawn Harper Nelson and Kendra Harrison – represent the USA. Given that the defending champion Brianna Rollins is on the same team, the USA could become the first nation in the history of the World Championships to sweep the medals in the sprint hurdles.

After graduating from college in 2014, world leader Nelvis is in her first year on international circuit but has already made a name for herself.

Nelvis was the world’s fastest over the 60m hurdles indoors with a time of 7.83. Four months later, she ran a big PB of 12.34 in the heats of the US Championships to move to the top of the 2015 world list. She followed it up with 12.37 in the semi-final the next day, and although she was slower in the final, she achieved her goal of making the team by finishing third.

In the meantime, the US title went to Harper Nelson. Although the world title has escaped her so far – she was seventh in 2009, third in 2011 and fourth in 2013 – Harper Nelson is one of the most consistent runners in the field and a proven championship performer. She will also be competing in the stadium in which she won Olympic gold seven years ago.

Like Nelvis, Harrison is making her World Championships debut. The 22-year-old is coming off of a successful collegiate season that brought her the NCAA 100m hurdles title and a silver medal in the 400m hurdles. She focused on the shorter race at the US Championships and finished a close second in 12.56.

Last month, in her first ever race outside the USA, Harrison finished second to Nelvis in Monaco in 12.52, just 0.02 outside her PB, to beat the likes of Rollins and Harper Nelson.

Rollins was making headlines heading into Moscow two years ago after clocking 12.26 to break the national record at the US Championships. But in 2015 the defending champion is having a much quieter season. She is yet to gain her first IAAF Diamond League win this year, but her results have been steady improving, indicating the possibility of a breakthrough in Beijing.

The European charge will be led by Tiffany Porter. The bronze medallist two years ago in Moscow and the reigning European champion, the Briton is fourth fastest in the world this year with an early-season 12.56.

Her younger sister Cindy Ofili has recently taken up British allegiance and is set to join Porter on the national team for the first time. She has reasonable podium hopes too after setting a PB of 12.60 in June when finishing second to Harrison at the NCAA Championships.

Olympic champion and world silver medallist Sally Pearson will be missing in action after sustaining a season-ending injury in Rome. The Australian shattered her wrist in a mid-race fall, having to undergo immediate surgery.

Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF