The 14th IAAF World Indoor Championships shifts seamlessly into fifth gear as a no less than 12 medal events will be decided in a head-spinning evening session at the Atakoy Athletics Arena.
Picking out a highlight in an evening which will involve a glut of World and Olympic champions may be a tricky task but the Women’s 60m Hurdles final at 19:45 should not be ignored. If, as expected, 2011 IAAF Female Athlete of the Year Sally Pearson negotiates the semi-finals, which takes place earlier in the evening, then watching the Australian gunning for medals is proving one of the most rewarding sights from any athletics fan.
Combining a rhythmic near flawless technique with dazzling speed – the fourth fastest 100m Hurdler in history – may not even view the world 60m Hurdles record set by Susanna Kallur as beyond her capabilities.
Can Eaton’s momentum continue?
The USA earned a gold medal in the Men’s Shot on Day One and the country could be set for more joy on day Two. Ashton Eaton holds a lead in excess of 150 points after Day One of the Men’s Heptathlon and by the time he competes in the final event – the 1000m - this evening he could be set for something special.
The morning’s 60m Hurdles and Pole Vault could be pivotal to his chances, but he is slightly up on the pace he set when posting the World record last year so his progress will be intriguing.
There is no doubt Eaton’s compatriot Sanya Richards-Ross is one of the world’s most gifted athletic talents. As a sub 49-second 400m performer and the 2009 World Champion she is a prodigious performer, although injury and illness have frustratingly stunted her career development. However, she has looked in supreme control throughout the opening two rounds of this competition and she will be expected to prosper in the two-lap event at 18:40.
Men’s 60m to be decided
The US also have a strong tradition in the Men’s 60m – winning this title on six previous occasions - and in World Leader Trell Kimmons and the 2003 champion in this event Justin Gatlin they have two strong gold medal contenders. Jamaica’s Nesta Carter and defending champion Dwain Chambers of Great Britain may stand in their way. Watch the drama unravel in the sport’s shortest events with semi-finals at 17:30 and final at 20:00.
The host nation has never won a medal in World Indoor Championship history but the home fans will be hoping Ilham Tanui Ozbilen can bring an end to that unwanted statistic. The Kenyan-born athlete was an impressive heat winner in the Men’s 1500m on day one and although he faces a tough African challenge he will be confident – with the passionate backing of the local supporters – he can mount the podium. The final is scheduled for 19:00.
Asli Cakir another Turk will feature women’s metric mile, although she would appear to face a much tougher challenge. The African threat is a formidable one with Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia the clear favourite to deliver in the 1500m final which takes place at 18:00.
Focus on James in the men’s 400m
The men’s 400m Final looks a more wide open affair then the distaff version. World outdoor champion Kirani James of Grenada is quite rightly lauded as a strong contender, however, he was defeated by Nery Brenes, who posted a Costan Rican record, in the semi-final. The Bahamian duo led by the defending champion Chris Brown and supported by team-mate Demetrius Pinder look to have chances.
In the field, five finals will take place in a choc-a-block evening session. Expect Anna Chicherova to figure prominently in the Women’s High Jump. The Russian World outdoor champions has won both silver and bronze medals at these championships and she will seeking to complete the full set in Istanbul.
Defending champion Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan competes in the Women’s Triple Jump Final, where her main opposition could be the 39-year-old veteran Yamile Aldama of Great Britain.
Renaud Lavillenie the European champion of France will be among the lead hopefuls in the Men’s Pole Vault while Brazil’s Mauro Da Silva will be looking to at least repeat his impressive world leading performance he set of 8.28m in qualification in the Men’s Long Jump Final.
Next round in Adams-Ostapchuk rivalry
This evening’s other final, the Women’s Shot, features those two perennial rivals Valerie Adams, the Olympic and World outdoor champion of New Zealand and Nadzeya Ostapchuk the defending champion of Belarus. Qualification takes place in the morning.
Also on the schedule alongside the Women’s Shot prelims in the day’s opening session include the First Round of the Women’s 60m, which features the defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica. The opening exchanges of the Men’s 60m Hurdles, Men’s 800m Semi-Finals and Men’s 4x400m Heats will also be on the menu. In the field, Men’s Triple Jump and High Jump qualification as well as Women’s Long Jump preliminaries will also take place.
Steve Landells for the IAAF