Zhang Guowei in high jump qualifying at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Beijing, China

Six expected highlights on day 9 – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

The IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 reaches its climax on Sunday (30) with seven titles to be decided. Here we preview the final day of action inside the Bird’s Nest stadium.

1. Women’s 5000m

This final takes place at 9:15pm and Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba is the big favourite. The 24-year-old has already won the 1500m, showing there is no easy way for others to win against her.

Genzebe Dibaba in the 5000m heats at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)Genzebe Dibaba in the 5000m heats at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright

From the top three finishers two years ago, only bronze medallist Ethiopian Almaz Ayana is in the race. Ayana, who clocked a world lead of 14:14.32 earlier this year, is expected to be Dibaba’s toughest challenger.

2. Men’s high jump

This competition, starting at 6:30pm, includes an important element: a possible Chinese medallist. The home crowd will be going all out to support Zhang Guowei, who has jumped 2.38m this season and is only one centimetre from the long-standing national record of 2.39m set by Zhu Jianhua more than 31 years ago.

Zhang will be up against defending champion Bogdan Bondarenko and world indoor champion Mutaz Essa Barshim. Both are regular 2.40m jumpers at their best, but they haven’t quite been in top form this year.

Others who could challenge for the title include USA’s Erik Kynard, Canada’s Derek Drouin and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, who have all jumped 2.37m this year.

3. Women’s marathon

The race gets underway at 7:30am and although there are many top athletes in the field, the men’s event underlined the fact that there is always an element of surprise in a major championships marathon.

Kenya’s defending champion Edna Kiplagat is in the race, but the two other medallists from 2013 are not.

Mare Dibaba is on the Ethiopian team and she will be returning to the country in which she achieved her 2:19:52 world lead in January. She is joined by in-form compatriots Tirfi Tsegaye and Tigist Tufa.

Because Kenya has a wild card entry in the form of Kiplaat, they have been able to enter four athletes. The hosts will also put forward a strong team as Italian coach Renato Canova has been working with the national team. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?

4. Women’s javelin

Having finally won her first major gold medal in Moscow two years ago, Christina Obergfoll will defend her title here. A place in the final did not come easy for the 34-year-old German, who needed all of her three throws to qualify, but many other big names failed to make it to the final.

The standard in the event has dropped this season, so the medals are open. There are two Chinese athletes in the final, topped by Li Lingwei, who had the second-best throw in qualification with 65.07m.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist and 2007 world champion Barbora Spotakova returns to the World Championships final and is in good form with a 65.02m qualifying mark.

5. Men’s 4x400m

Defending champions USA ran a world-leading 2:58.13 for the fastest time in the heats. Jamaica, who won the silver in 2013, is expected to challenge for the win this time, especially as Olympic champions Bahamas did not make it to the final here.

Dane Hyatt of Jamaica leads Bryshon Nellum of the USA in the 4x400m heats at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)Dane Hyatt of Jamaica leads Bryshon Nellum of the USA in the 4x400m heats at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright

But the surprise package could come from Trinidad and Tobago, who finished a close second behind USA in the second heat in 2:58.67.

6. Women’s 4x400m

Russia held off the US challenge in this event to win in 2013 against a backdrop of roars inside the Luzhniki Stadium. The defending champions made the final here, but don’t seem to be at the same level they were two years ago.

Barring disaster, USA appear to be favourites to win. The might be a tight competition for silver with Nigeria, Jamaica, Russia and Great Britain looking good in the heats.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF