Dafne Schippers in action at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

Preview: women's 200m – IAAF World Championships London 2017

Shaunae Miller-Uibo was still a teenager when she first challenged for a medal at the IAAF World Championships, finishing fourth in the 200m final in Moscow in 2013.

Now 23, the Bahamian is the Olympic champion at 400m and heads to London seeking to complete an unprecedented double at the 2017 IAAF World Championships. No female sprinter has managed to replicate the feat that Michael Johnson accomplished on the male side in Gothenburg in 1995. Allyson Felix attempted it in Daegu in 2011 but finished with silver from the 400m and bronze from the 200m.

Miller-Uibo would first have to overcome Felix in a re-match of their epic 2016 Olympic 400m duel before having a shot at gold at the 200m. Should she successfully complete the first leg, she would have hope of striking a second gold at the shorter distance, having scorched halfway round the Hayward Field track in a national record of 21.91 at the Prefontaine Classic IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene in May.

That day Miller-Uibo claimed the scalps of Olympic 200m (and 100m) champion Elaine Thompson (third in 21.96), world 200m champion Dafne Schippers (22.30) and three-time world 200m champion Felix (fifth in 22.33). She did, however, finish in the slipstream of the US sprinter who will head to London as favourite for the 200m in the absence of the Jamaican Thompson, who has chosen to concentrate on the 100m.

Tori Bowie’s winning time in Eugene was a stunning 21.77, figures that have only ever been bettered by four US women – Florence Griffith-Joyner (21.34), Marion Jones (21.62), Felix (21.69), who will be concentrating on the 400m in London, and Gwen Torrence (21.72) – and matched by one other, Inger Miller. 

Bowie took Olympic bronze at the 200m behind Thompson and Schippers in Rio last year, plus silver at 100m and gold in the 4x100m. She was also the 100m bronze medallist at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Schippers.

The one question mark against her is a complete lack of racing form since the US Championships in Sacramento in late June, where she won the 100m and finished only third in the 200m, clocking 22.60 behind Deajah Stevens (22.30) and Kimberlyn Duncan (22.59).

Stevens has a season’s best of 22.09, 0.01 faster than that of Schippers, who has looked a little short of her sharpest so far this season but whose challenge cannot be discounted. The Dutchwoman had to work hard to resist Marie Josee Ta Lou en route to her 22.10 victory at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne. Ta Lou recorded 22.16 that night and proceeded to win at the Monaco IAAF Diamond League meeting, clocking 22.25.

Third in Monaco with 22.89 was Dina Asher-Smith, who has made impressively rapid strides since returning to competition only last month after a broken foot bone. The Briton finished fifth in the 2015 final in Beijing and occupied the same place in the Olympic final in Rio last year. If she could reach a third successive global final, the 21-year-old would be deserving of a metaphorical medal.

Simon Turnbull for the IAAF