Fab five: prolific performers at the World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Fab five: prolific performers at the World Championships

To begin our fab five 10-week countdown to the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, we travel back through history to highlight five very special athletes who boast a long-lasting affinity with the biennial IAAF World Championships.

 

Jesus Angel Garcia

Spain's Jesus Angel Garcia in the 50km race walk at the IAAF World Championships (AFP / Getty Images)Spain's Jesus Angel Garcia in the 50km race walk at the IAAF World Championships (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright

 

No athlete has appeared at more IAAF World Championships than the indefatigable Spanish race walker, who has made a sweat-inducing 12 appearances.

Striking gold in the 50km event on his World Championship debut at the 1993 edition in Stuttgart, he went on to collect a trio of silver medals for the distance - in 1997, 2001 and 2009 - the latter achieved at the age of 39. Garcia’s most recent World Championship appearance came in Beijing in 2015. Still competing, earlier this year the 49-year-old placed third at the Spanish Championships in the 50km race walk.

Virgilijus Alekna

Virgilijus Alekna in action (Michael Steele - Allsport)Virgilijus Alekna in action (Michael Steele - Allsport) © Copyright

 

The former bodyguard to the Lithuanian Prime Minister enjoyed a lengthy and glittering World Championships career in the discus circle.

Alekna made 10 World Championships appearances, claiming silver medals in 1997 and 2001 before banking back-to-back gold medals in 2003 and 2005. An Olympic champion in 2000 and 2004, the 2.02m tall Alekna today serves as an elected member of the Lithuanian parliament.

Kim Collins

Kim Collins in action at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu (Getty Images)Kim Collins in action at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

Perhaps no sprinter has quite defied the sands of time like the St Kitts and Nevis speedster.

Making his World Championships debut in the 4x100m aged 19 at the 1995 edition, Collins went on to claim World Championship 100m gold eight years later in Paris and won three bronze medals (over 100m in 2005 and 2011 and 200m in 2001).

The laidback sprinter had an enviable knack of peaking when it mattered most and competed at his final World Championship in 2015. The following year he became the first 40-year-old to run a sub-10-second 100m before finally retiring in 2018.

Susana Feitor

Portuguese race walker Susana Feitor at the IAAF World Championships (Getty Images)Portuguese race walker Susana Feitor at the IAAF World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

From 1991-2011 the Portuguese race walking stalwart was a permanent fixture at the biennial IAAF World Championships.

Placing 17th over the 10km distance on her World Championship debut in Tokyo, it was later over the 20km distance where Feitor enjoyed her finest results. Four times a top-five finisher, her sole World Championships medal was secured when earning bronze in Helsinki in 2005. She finally concluded her distinguished international career in 2016 at the age of 41.

Franka Dietzsch

Franka Dietzsch of Germany - third World Discus Throw title (Getty Images)Franka Dietzsch of Germany - third World Discus Throw title (Getty Images) © Copyright

 

The most successful female discus thrower in World Championships history made 10 successive appearances from 1991-2009. After missing out on qualifying for the final on her championship debut in Tokyo in 1991, the powerful German went on to strike gold on no less than three occasions in 1999, 2005 and 2007.

During a lengthy career, Dietzsch failed to qualify for the final at her final World Championships in Berlin before retiring later in 2009. 


Steve Landells for the IAAF