Mariya Savinova and Brenda Martinez in the womens 800m at the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013 (© Getty Images)
Sunday, the ninth and closing day of the IAAF World Championships held in Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium, will bring in bits of everything: throwing (the women’s Javelin final), jumping (the men’s Triple Jump), sprinting (the men’s and women’s 4x100m Relays) and distance running (the men’s 1500m and women’s 800m finals.) And, of course, host-country favourites and Usain Bolt, the running themes of the championships.
Bolt is expected to take a leg of defending champions Jamaica’s 4x100m Relay, with whom he set a World record in Daegu in 2011. Whether Bolt will run in the first round, which for men will be held shortly before 17:00 Moscow time, is unanswered so far, but should Jamaica succeed in making the final, which seems likely, leaving an uninjured Bolt off the relay would be madness.
The mechanics of getting the baton around - twice – are just difficult enough to make no team a sure thing, but Jamaica have yet to lose with Bolt carrying the stick.
The women’s 4x100m Relay is even more interesting. With both Jamaica and the USA depleted by injury – not one of the World-record-setting quartet which ran for the USA in London is available now – the door is open for a challenge from the likes of the Bahamas, Great Britain, or hosts Russia to claim a big medal. And, as we’ve already mentioned, actually finishing the race is by no means a sure thing.
The men’s 1500m suffered a number of high-profile exits in the semi-finals, including those of Olympic silver medallists Nick Willis and Leo Manzano, but it retains 2008 Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop, and from the way Kiprop ran in the semi-finals, he may be all the race needs.
Kiprop and his countrymen Nixon Chepseba and Silas Kiplagat should improve on Kenya’s no-medals showing in this event last summer in London, but outside the red, black and green it’s worth keeping an eye on the young Briton Chris O’Hare, an NCAA champion in the USA, and 2011 bronze medallist Matthew Centrowitz, whose semi-final tactics were close to perfect.
The women’s 800m final features two Russians and three from the USA and as such might be close to a rematch of Saturday’s 4x400m Relay. The tactical range between the front-running Alysia Johnson Montano and fast-closing Brenda Martinez mirrors the USA one-two punch of Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds in the men’s 800m.
However, in the women’s race is Mariya Savinova, the Olympic champion and winner in Daegu two years ago whose own tactical sense is near perfect. Savinova has to be considered the favourite until events prove her otherwise.
Abakumova brings attention
With Russia’s Maria Abakumova dominating the women’s Javelin, that event might get more attention than it generally does during Sunday’s competition. Abakumova’s seasonal best is more than a metre-and-a-half farther than that of anyone else in the final, and she is the only woman in the final with a PB over 71m – in fact, at 71.99m, she’s almost the only one over 72m. The only other woman in the field with a PB over 70m is Christina Obergfoll.
There aren’t any Russians in the men’s Triple Jump final, so those athletes may find themselves under the radar when their final starts. However, through qualifying Pedro Pichardo has one of the best PBs of the bunch at 17.69m and the best of any finalist this year.
The challenge is likely to come from World and Olympic champion Christian Taylor of the USA, who will join team-mate Will Claye in the final.
Events begin at 16:00 Moscow local time and will be completed before 19:00.
Parker Morse for IAAF