Mo Farah and Muktar Edris in the 5000m heats at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

Five things to watch on day nine – IAAF World Championships London 2017

1. Usain Bolt and Mo Farah

Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, the two most prolific male world and Olympic gold medallists of recent times, bow out at championship level today. Don’t miss this one, because we sure will miss these two. Bolt runs the heat (maybe) and final (assuming Jamaica gets there) of the 4x100m relay; Farah bids for an 11th straight global title and fifth straight global distance double when he runs the 5000m final.

Barring disaster, Jamaica and the USA should fight out the men’s relay - again. Farah faces the usual raft of contenders in the 5000, though perhaps the most intriguing is 17-year-old newcomer Selemon Barega, like Bolt a World U20 champion (at 5000 last year) before becoming a World U18 champion (3000m this year). Should be a barnburner.

And there’s also the women’s 4x100m final. Some Saturday we have coming.

2. Decathlon day 2

As day one drew to a close, Kevin Mayer, Kai Kazmirek and Rico Freimuth were locked in battle to see who would succeed Aston Eaton as World champion. The 400 saw Kevin Mayer’s lead reduced, but he ended the day with 4478 points, 57 ahead of Kai Kazmirek, with Rico Freimuth a further 60 back.

Damian Warner also gained ground in the 400, moving to fourth as he, Trey Hardee and Kurt Felix remained in touch with the medal positions.

Day two brings the 110m hurdles, followed by the discus throw, the pole vault, the javelin and the gruelling finale – the 1500m.

3. Women’s 100m hurdles

Two sensations in the semi-finals last night: first, Sally Pearson was fastest in the round with 12.53 in the first heat; second, Kendra Harrison, the world record holder and unbackable favourite kicked the first hurdle in her semi, finished third, and only qualified for the final as the second of the two non-automatics. And even that was deathly close: Harrison edged Isabelle Pedersen by 0.01 for third in the semi and last into the final.

Pearson had world indoor champion Nia Ali behind her. Nadine Visser, in third, claimed one of the two non-automatic spots. Christina Manning took semi-final two in 12.75 from Alina Talay. Then it was Dawn Haper-Nelson from Pamela Dutkiewicz and – phew! – Harrison in semi number three.

It looks a race between the London 2012 champion and the world record holder who is yet to make a major championship impact.

4. Men’s javelin

Momentum. Thomas Rohler had it at the start of the season, with a 93.90m throw at the Doha IDL. Now it is firmly with teammate Johannes Vetter, who threw 94.44m in Lucerne and an if-you-don’t-mind 91.20m in qualifying here. Can Rohler regain the initiative or will the Vetter bandwagon roll over everything?

The two superstars of the event in 2017 have dragged the rest through on their coat-tails. Andreas Hoffman, London 2012 champion Keshorn Walcott, Ioannis Kiriazis, defending champion Julius Yego and veteran Tero Pitkamaki have all reached the high 80-metre range. They will be in the mix, but can any of them find the 3-5 metres improvement on their seasonal best to challenge for the gold?

We shall see.

5. Women’s high jump

Can anyone beat Mariya Lasitskene? It is difficult to see it. The defending champion dominates the season’s list, has the world lead at 2.06 with no one else over two metres outdoors. Airine Palsyte, who did 2.01m indoors, is in the final, but the next best outdoors are Vashti Cunningham at 1.99m and Kamila Licwinko at 1.98m.

If the pressure of a big final takes something off Lasistskene and someone else finds another few centimetres . . . who knows. But that is a couple of very big ‘ifs’.

Not forgetting . . .  not all the relay action is at 4x100, the morning session also features the men’s and women’s 4x400m heats.

Len Johnson for the IAAF

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