Salwa Eid Naser, Shericka Jackson and Shaunae Miller-Uibo after the 400m final at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Doha, Qatar

Preview: women's 400m - IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019

Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the Olympic 400m champion, has been unbeatable this season.

In her last significant competitive race she shattered the IAAF Diamond League 200m record by winning the title in Zurich in 21.74. She has also defeated all opposition – including Olympic champion Elaine Thompson and Britain’s European champion Dinah Asher-Smith – over the half-lap sprint.

But as the schedule at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 is not conducive to her doubling up, Miller-Uibo has chosen to concentrate on what is still regarded as her main event over one lap.

Her clocking of 49.05 at the start of the season in Gainesville, Florida, still tops the world list for the season, and this tall, powerful 25-year-old Bahamian appears to be at the peak of her powers.

But there is a rising talent at her shoulder in the form of Bahrain’s 21-year-old Salwa Eid Naser, who is second on this year’s world list with 49.17, recorded at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne.

In Zurich earlier this month, Naser won the Diamond League 400m title in Miller-Uibo’s absence, clocking 50.24.

Miler-Uibo’s personal best for the 400m, 48.97, was recorded at last year’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco, under extreme pressure from Naser, who recorded her own personal best of 49.08.

That race was electric; Doha promises to provide a similarly jolting spectacle.

At the last World Championships in London Miller-Uibo, who was doubling up over 200m, appeared en route to victory over 400m only to falter and stumble near the end, finishing fourth in 50.49 as the 19-year-old Naser took silver in a then national record of 50.06.

Will Miller-Uibo win her first world gold in Qatar?

Among those seeking to avoid that scenario will be the defending champion from the United States, Phyllis Francis, who has been a consistent but not stellar performer in the intervening years. She is currently 12th on this year’s world list with 50.76.

Shakima Wimbley is the fastest of the US entries this season, standing fifth on the world list with 50.20, but the world indoor silver medallist pulled up at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels and looked to be injured. Her colleagues Kendal Ellis and Wadeline Jonathas fill the next two places with 50.38 and 50.44 respectively.

Jamaica also has strong prospects in the form of Shericka Jackson, the Olympic and 2015 world bronze medallist, who is currently fourth on the world list with 49.78, and Stephenie Ann McPherson, the 2013 world bronze medallist, who has run 50.74 this year.

Others to watch out for include Britain’s Laviai Nielsen, who has run a personal best of 50.83 this season, Lisanne De Witte of the Netherlands, who has a 2019 best of 51.30, and Poland’s European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, who has run 50.85 this season and has a best of 50.41.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF