Marie-Josee Ta Lou in the 200m semi-finals at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

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

1 Women’s 200m

Nothing to choose, on semifinal form anyway, between the three winners. Dafne Schippers ran 22.49; so, too, did Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the second semi; Marie-Josee Ta Lou ran 22.50 in the last. All three races were into an almost unnoticeable -0.2m/s headwind.

The three runners-up – Deajah Stevens, Kimberlyn Duncan and Dina Asher-Smith – ran 22.71, 22.73 and 22.73, so nothing between them either.

Simone Face and Mujinga Kambundji in the 200m semi-finals at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images)

Mujinga Kambundji and Crystal Emmanuel took the non-automatic spots in the final.

Who wins? Who knows. Schippers has a title to defend; maybe that will be enough to get her over the line. But it looms as one hell of a battle.

2 Women’s 3000m steeplechase

Ruth Jebet ruled the roost last year, winning the Olympic title in Rio and setting a world record in Paris, but she faces a battle to retain supremacy.

Runners in the first heat of the women's steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images)

It is clear that Celliphine Chespol is up for the challenge. The Kenyan set a world U20 record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene and is the only one to go sub-nine minutes in 2017. Olympic silver medallist Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi beat Jebet in Doha back in May in further evidence that the Olympic champion will not have it all her way.

Emma Coburn, Genevieve LaCaze and heat one winner Gesa Krause are among those who look capable of challenging the east Africans.

3 Men’s hammer

After taking gold and bronze in the women’s final, can Poland go one better and take gold and silver in the men’s? Pawel Fajdek and Wojciech Nowicki are the only two throwers beyond 80 metres in 2017 and led their respective qualifying pools on rainy day Wednesday.

Pawel Fajdek in the qualifying round at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (AFP/Getty Images)

Fajdek will have the added motivation of atonement for his surprise failure in the Olympics last year. That one glitch aside, he has reigned supreme since winning the first of his two world titles in Moscow four years ago. He took one throw to adjust to the slippery circle in qualifying then banged out a 76.82m.

Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov cannot be discounted and others with a chance on season’s bests include Valeriy Pronkin, Bence Halasz and Pavel Bareisha.

4 Women’s long jump

The long jumpers got quite the worst of Wednesday night’s weather. No one got the automatic qualifying distance of 6.70m. Tianna Barloletta went almost as close as anyone with 6.64m. The world and Olympic champion will be bidding for her third consecutive global title. She beat Brittany Reese, the Olympic silver medallist, at the US Championships which is a good form line.

Ivana Spanovic in the long jump qualifying round at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images)

Olympic bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic has been challenging for the big titles for several years now and will be highly motivated to make it here. Speaking of motivation, Lorraine Ugen will have 60,000 home fans barracking her on. Others in the medal hunt include Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Darya Klishina and Brooke Stratton.

5 Men’s decathlon

Day one of the decathlon features the 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400m. The retirement of Ashton Eaton, two-time world and Olympic champion, means that a new face will rise to the top in 2017.

Rico Freimuth tops the world list with his win in Ratingen, ahead of Ilya Shkurenev and Gotzis winner Damian Warner. Warner was bronze medallist in Rio, silver medallist Kevin Mayer is a starter here but has not completed a decathlon this year.

Others in the hunt include Lindon Victor, Eelco Sintnicolaas and dual Olympic bronze medallist Leonel Suarez. But it is a suddenly open event and any number of contenders may emerge after the first few events.

Not forgetting… the women’s 100m hurdles has heats in the morning and semis in the evening, the men’s 1500m and women’s 800m move to the semis, the former without Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz, the latter without defending champion Marina Arzamasova, who were both eliminated;  on the field, we have men’s high jump and women’s discus qualifying.

Len Johnson for the IAAF