Tuesday’s action on day four of the IAAF World Championships may be the most emblematic of the entire meet, if only because it features the primary component of the championships’ logo.
The women’s Pole Vault final will bring to the spotlight Yelena Isinbayeva, the most dominant vaulter of the last decade who is featured in action (and in silhouette) on the logo.
Isinbayeva has not always been in her best form over the last few years but in Sunday’s qualifying she showed a flash of her old, efficient and effective, self when she opted to vault only once, a single successful attempt at the last height required for qualification.
Among her opponents are Brazil’s defending champion Fabiana Murer and USA’s Olympic champion Jenn Suhr as well as Cuba’s 2013 Diamond Race leader Yarisley Silva.
Another showdown between the defending champion Kiriani James and 2009 champion Lashawn Merritt is shaping up in the men’s 400m final, a race that will cap the night.
Both James and Merritt appeared strong and confident in Monday night’s semi-finals.
The men’s 800m final is missing its defending champion David Rudisha, but still has semi-final winners: Ethiopia’s 2012 World Indoor Championships gold medallist Mohammed Aman, 2013 US champion Duane Solomon and Djibouti talent Ayanleh Souleiman.
With Solomon a confirmed front-runner and team mate Nick Symmonds a fast closer, drama can be expected down the homestretch.
The other field event of Tuesday evening, the men’s Discus Throw, features two-time defending champion Robert Harting, for whom the third would certainly represent the chance to destroy yet another competition vest.
Harting had the longest throw in qualifying, but considering he, Poland’s 2012 world leader Piotr Malachowski, and Estonia’s 2008 Olympic champion Gerd Kanter qualified with only one throw each, qualifying distances may not be as effective as a guide to the actual competition.
Milcha Cheiwa Chemos has not yet led Kenya to the kind of women’s 3000m Steeplechase glory that the men have enjoyed for decades; for the past three championships, in fact, Chemos’s bronzes have been the Kenyan women’s best results. If 2013 is to be Chemos’ year – and it may be her best opportunity – that time will come on Tuesday evening.
Real intrigue will come in the final three events of the Heptathlon: the Long Jump, Javelin Throw and 800m.
Ukraine’s Ganna Melnichenko held a 75 point lead overnight with 3912 points. The Netherlands’ former World junior champion Dafne Schippers stood second with 3837 and had just one point on the USA’s Sharon Day, lying third with 3836 points while Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton is fourth, just 26 points back with 3810.
With every event reshuffling the order on day one, day two might see a medalist even coming from outside those four.
Parker Morse for the IAAF