Allyson Felix gets her Samsung League campaign off with a narrow 400m victory in Doha (Jiro Mochizuki) © Copyright
Preview Daegu, Korea

High class World Championships dress rehearsal set for Daegu - PREVIEW - IAAF World Challenge

The Colorful Daegu PreChampionships Meeting will be held next Thursday at the Daegu Stadium. The meet with a great history already will have extra significance this season because it’s the last chance for international athletes to test the track which will host the thirteenth edition of the IAAF World Championships (27 Aug to 4 Sep).

The Colorful Daegu Pre-Championships Meeting is an IAAF World Challenge series competition.

WOMEN - Jeter, Felix, and weighty sprint hurdles line-up to highlight

As usual for this meet, the fields are very impressive. The strongest events are the women’s sprints where world season leading American Carmelita Jeter heads the 100m race. The 31-year-old bronze medallist from the 2009 World Championships has started this season promisingly and clocked a 10.86 world leading time in Kingston last Saturday. Jeter ran her personal best of 10.64 in Shanghai in September 2009. In Daegu, Jeter will compete against Gabon record holder (11.15 in 2010) Ruddy Zang Milama and a bunch of fellow American sprinters including Lashauntea Moore, Marshevet Myers and Gloria Asumnu.

In the 200m Allyson Felix, who has won three consecutive World titles 2005-2009, will start her 200m season following a good 400m win Doha in 50.33. The 25-year-old ran 22.03 last year and holds a 21.81 personal best from the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. The 22.65 world leading time by American Lauryn Williams should be wiped off the lists here, but the fastest time of the year in all conditions is 22.10 by Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser which she ran wind aided in Kingston with a +2.4 m/s following wind. Lashauntea Moore after a 22.83 win in Doha last Friday will challenge Felix in Daegu. European Championships bronze medallist from Barcelona, Russian Aleksandra Fedoriva is also in the race and will be joined by Cydonie Mothersill of Cayman Islands, who placed fourth already 10 years ago at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton.

In the 100m Hurdles, Doha winner and world leader with 12.58 there, American Kellie Wells heads the event. 28-year-old Wells equalled her 2008 personal best with the win in Doha and also won the US Indoor Championships in Albuquerque in February clocking a world leading 7.79 result in the 60m Hurdles.

Two-times World Indoor champion countrywoman Lolo Jones joins Wells here. 28-year-old Jones was third in the tight Doha race clocking a 12.67 season’s best there and has a fast personal best 12.43 from the Beijing Olympics. Reigning Olympic champion from Beijing, American Dawn Harper will start her season in this race and American born Briton Tiffany Ofili, 60m hurdles European Indoor silver medallist from Paris this winter, will be looking for another fast time here. Ofili recently won the Drake Relays in Des Moines with a slightly (+2.2) wind assisted 12.66, well under her 2008 personal best 12.73.

25-year-old German Silke Spiegelburg, European Championships outdoor and indoor silver medallist (2010/2011), is the top name in the women’s Pole Vault. The former World Youth champion from 2001 comes to the competition with a 4.71m outdoor personal best, but has already beaten that result with a 4.76m vault indoors this season. Fellow German, 30-year-old Carolin Hingst will also start her outdoor campaign in this meet, she has a 4.72m personal best from last season. The 2009 European indoor champion from Russia, Yuliya Golubchikova, will come back to Daegu where she won in 2010 with a 4.65m season’s best. 28-year-old was fourth in the Beijing Olympics with a 4.75m personal best in 2008.

The Long Jump is headed by world leading American Funmi Jimoh, who won in Doha with a 6.88m season’s best. In the High Jump there should be a new world leading mark for sure. Until now only 1.90m has been cleared and one of the athletes with this season’s best, Jamaican Sheree Francis is in the competition. But the winner should be found from group of two Uzbekistan athletes, Svetlana Radzivil and Nadezhda Dusanova, and Russian Yelena Slesarenko and Marina Aitova of Kazakstan.

Chinese Zhang Wenxiu and Russian Tatyana Lysenko should be the two top names in the women’s Hammer Throw. In the 1500m two top names in 2011, Ukraine’s Anna Mishchenko and Kenyan Irene Jelagat are in the race.

MEN – Oliver the standout name

In the men’s events 100m should be one of the spotlight events. Doha 200m winner (20.06), American Walter Dix, will start his 100m season in this race. The 25-year-old won the bronze medal in both 100m and 200m in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and has a fast 9.88 personal best from 2010. A 10.00 runner in 2010, Norwegian record holder Jaysuma Saidy Ndure will be one of the challengers and world leading 60m runner Mike Rodgers should be running too. The 26-year-old was a world leader in the indoor 60m clocking 6.48 at the US Indoor Championships and has already run a 9.96 season’s best in the 100m in April.

In the 110m Hurdles world’s number one American David Oliver will be looking to better his own 13.16 world leading mark from April. The 29-year-old got really close to the World record last season clocking a 12.89 American record in Paris in July and has won the last 17 finals before this race. Fellow American Aries Merritt might be the top contender for the win and the 25-year-old has run a wind aided 13.16 and a wind legal 13.36 season’s best. Jamaican record holder (13.16 in 2009) Dwight Thomas has also started his season well with a 13.32 season’s best clocking in Basseterre behind Oliver’s 13.16 world leader.

In the 400m Hurdles, 2005 World champion Bershawn Jackson was third in Doha in a 48.44 season’s best. The American will be hurdling against countryman Angelo Taylor, who is the reigning Olympic champion from Beijing. The 32-year-old won his first Olympic title already in 2000 in Sydney and has only run a few flat races this season with the first 400m hurdles race coming here in Daegu. 22-year-old American Johnny Dutch run a great 47.63 personal best at the US Championships last year, but hasn’t been able to dip under 50 seconds this season.

In the 3000m Steeplechase there is a good chance of a world leading time. 32-year-old South African Ruben Ramolefi will be running and he is also the 2011 world leader having won the national championships clocking 8:14.06 in April. 27-year-old Richard Matelong of Kenya will be running his first steeplechase race of the season. He has won a medal in three consecutive major championships with a bronze at both 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympics and then a silver in Berlin at the 2009 World Championships. 2008 World Junior champion, still only 19 years old, of course also from Kenya, Jonathan Ndiku will be looking for a swift move to seniors here. Another Kenyan, 20-year-old Silas Kitum ran 8:12.42 PB last year and countryman Hillary Yego is still a junior and the winner of the 2009 World Youth Championships in 2000m Steeplechase.

World number two his season with a 17.27m result, Cuban Alexis Copello is the top name for the men’s Triple Jump. He is joined in this competition by 29-year-old Bahamian Leevan Sands, who was second in Doha with a 17.09m season’s best and has a 17.39m wind aided mark from April.

In the Javelin Throw, Czech Vitezslav Vesely, a 83.59m thrower this season, has to fight against Latvian Ainars Kovals, the Olympic silver medallist from 2008, who will start his season here. One of the top Finns, Teemu Wirkkala who won in Daegu in 2009, will also be competing for the first time this season.

American duo Calvin Smith and David Neville, the 2008 Olympics bronze medallist, will be fighting for the 400m win. In the 800m Spanish Antonio Manuel Reina will be running against Kenyans 2010 World Indoors silver medallist Boaz Lalang and Ismael Kombich. Bahrain’s Bilal Mansour Ali is also in the race, he was seventh at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF