The IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

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

1 Men’s 100m

Tonight, ‘will he or won’t he’ will be answered by ‘did he or didn’t he’. Usain Bolt and his 100m rivals run off in cut-throat semis before the top eight meet in the climactic final. If Bolt wins, he goes out undefeated at global championship level (other than his false start disqualification in 2011); if he loses, he just goes out.

In the first round, Bolt won the sixth and last heat in 10.07, a performance which left him shaking his head, seemingly unimpressed. One of his toughest rivals, Canada’s Andre De Grasse scratched with a hamstring injury, but there are other threats.

Young US speedster Christian Coleman, fastest in the world this year, and old(er) US speedster Justin Gatlin, winner at the US Championships, both won their heats comfortably. One sub-10 South African, Thando Roto, went out on a false-start disqualifcation, but Akani Simbine went through OK, as did Bolt’s teammate, Yohan Blake, who did win in Daegu. Blake was only second in the heat won by Japan’s Abdul Hakim Sani Brown.

It might be “Shoosh!” for the start, but the roof will lift off after that.

2 Women’s 10,000m

If Almaz Ayana is in anything like her form from the Rio 2016 Olympics, the race looks decided already. But she hasn’t raced this year and teammate Tirunesh Dibaba has nothing at this distance in 2017.

Kenya fields a strong trio with Rio fourth-place finisher Alice Aprot Nawowuna and the past two world cross-country champions, Agnes Tirop and Irene Cheptai. Molly Huddle looks to continue the strong recent record of the USA in this event, but expect the east Africans to set the tone.

3 Men’s long jump

Top US hopes Jeff Henderson, the Olympic champion, and world indoor champion Marquise Dendy, went out in qualifying, and world silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre scraped into the final in 12th place overall.

But world leader Luvo Manyonga needed just one jump to go through automatically and will start as favourite for the gold medal. His teammate Ruswahl Saamai was almost as impressive. The qualifiers were led by Radek Juska of the Czech Republic, with 8.24m on his second jump, and Cuba’s Maykel Masso, still only 18, the world U20 champion and 2015 world U18 champion. Masso went 8.15m on his first jump.

Aleksandr Menkov, the 2013 champion, was another to go through with just one jump, exceeding the 8.05m automatic qualifying on his first attempt.

Qualifying is just a (fallible) guide, but Manyonga looks a good bet for gold.

4 Men’s discus

After a ‘nothing much’ first throw, world leader Daniel Stahl launched a 67.64m effort to head the qualifiers. Andrius Gudzius reached 67.01m, while defending champion Piotr Malachowski and Robert Harting were also beyond 65 metres. Harting is seeking a fourth world title and has good memories of this stadium, having won the Olympic gold here on 2012.

These four could fight out the gold in tonight’s final. A gold medal would boost Stahl’s reputation no end.

5 Heptathlon

The heptathlon gets under way with the first day featuring four of the seven events – the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, and the 200m.

Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam has a clear lead on the world list with 7013 points. But the heptathlon is really seven ‘hurdles’ events and you can fall at any one of them. Germany’s Carolin Schafer has scored 6836 this year and Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece-Admidina and home favourite Katarina Johnson-Thompson will all be right there if Thiam falters, or falls.

Not forgetting…

The women’s 1500m moves to the semifinals after a strong round of heats. Nothing in the first round would lead you to question the form book with Genzebe Dibaba, Sifan Hassan and Faith Kipyegon all looking comfortable. The semis may reveal other challengers for medals, including local hope Laura Muir.

The men’s 800m lacks defending champion David Rudisha, but Kenya still boasts the fastest man in 2017 in emerging star Emmanuel Korir. Botswana’s Nijel Amos has run 1:41.73 in this stadium and has returned to his best form since in recent months.

In another highlight, Olympic champion Anita Wlodarczyk competes in the qualifying round of the hammer. She set her world record in the morning in Rio – so maybe there’s something big in the offing.

Len Johnson for the IAAF

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