Omar McLeod of Jamaica after crossing the finish line (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

Preview: men's 110m hurdles – IAAF World Championships London 2017

This is shaping up to be a particularly fantastic championships for coach Edrick Floreal whose athletes are favoured to claim the 100m hurdles title courtesy of world record-holder Kendra Harrison as well as this title through Omar McLeod.

Not since Allen Johnson in 1997 has an Olympic 110m hurdles champion claimed the world title the following season but the Jamaican has backed up his breakthrough season brilliantly. He moved to fifth on the world all-time list with a 12.90 clocking at the Jamaican Championships in Kingston and not only is McLeod aiming for the world title, he is also chasing the world record.

"I am going after it. I didn't get it [at the Jamaican Championships], but I am going for it next time,” said McLeod after setting that world-leading mark in June.

The world record has stood to Aries Merritt since those halcyon days five years ago when he clocked 12.80 in Brussels, one month after claiming the Olympic title on this track. Since then, Merritt – who broke the 13-second barrier eight times in wind-legal conditions that season – has had to overcome some serious health problems but he has battled back to form to make his fifth successive World Championships team.

After finishing second to Aleec Harris at the US Championships, Merritt defeated some of his main rivals at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London last month, setting a season’s best of 13.09 in the process. The third member of the US team is the multi-talented Devon Allen, who is back in shape after sustaining an ACL knee injury during the collegiate football season last September.

Defending champion Sergey Shubenkov is improving with every race this season and he won’t give up his title easily. The 26-year-old pushed the Olympic champion right to the line in their most recent showdown in Szekesfehervar with McLeod edging the win in 12.96 followed by Shubenkov in 13.01, the second-fastest time of his career.

The new find of the event this year is the Stephen Francis-coached Ronald Levy, who has improved his lifetime best from 13.50 to 13.05 this season, while the Jamaican team also includes world silver medallist Hansle Parchment, who also took the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.

European athletes won two medals at the Olympic Games last summer and they feature prominently on the world list. Behind Shubenkov, Garfield Darien leads the French challenge, but Olympic bronze medallist Dimitri Bascou and fourth-place finisher Pascal Martinot-Lagarde are both injured.

Spain’s Orlando Ortega took the Olympic silver medal behind McLeod last season and he will be aiming to claim his second major medal in as many seasons. His best mark this year is 13.15.

European indoor 60m hurdles champion Andy Pozzi has put together a largely uninterrupted season and has improved to 13.14.

Steven Mills for the IAAF