Helsinki, FinlandWith just two days remaining at the 10th IAAF World Championships, it’ll be nitty gritty time on Day 8, with new World champions crowned in all but two events on the programme.
The men's Marathon, which kicks off competition on Saturday, features a reunion of the Paris podium trio, winner Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, Spaniard Julio Rey, and Italy's Stefan Baldini. Baldini, always a clutch championship performer, followed up his Paris bronze with his stellar performance to win the Olympic title in Athens last year. And while speaking of Athens, Baldini figures in another reunion: with Olympic silver medallist Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil.
Not surprising, Kenya's deep pool of talent is well represented, with a trio of sub 2:07 marathons, led by Robert Cheboror, last year's Amsterdam winner in 2:066:23. he'll be joined by Wilson Onsore, Joseph Riri and Jimmy Miundi.
An always tough Japanese squad is led by Asian record holder Toshinari Takaoka. The 34-year-old ran his PB of 2:06:16 during hs first of two third place finishes in Chicago in 2002, and has run a formidable 2:07:41 this year.
Hendrick Ramaala, last year's winner in New York, might also be a factor, while Finnish hopes lie with Janne Holmén, who proved his big race mettle with his surprise win at the 2002 European Championships but had an Achilles operation last autumn and is not yet in his best shape.
Dibaba looks for double
In the women’s 5000m, defending champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia continues her bid for the unofficial title of the world’s finest distance runner as she looks to add the 5000 title her 10,000 crown. No woman has ever claimed the long distance double at the World Championships; after her double win at the World Cross Country Championships in March, Dibaba, still just 19, looks to be as solid a candidate as any.
Her stiffest competition should come from her compatriots Meselech Melkamu, Meseret Defar and older sister Ejegayehu Dibaba. Together, the four took the top two spots in each of the first round races.
Phillips – prohibitive favourite
After popping a massive, if wind-assisted, 8.59 leap with his first qualifying jump, reigning World and Olympic champion Dwight Phillips is head and shoulders above the field in today's final in the Long Jump. Indeed, the title is his to lose. The battle for the remaining medals will be a hard-fought one, and again, the Helsinki crowd might play a crucial role.
The surprise from the qualifying round was Tommi Evilä's 8.18 national record, placing the 25-year-old from Tampere in the thick of things. 20-year-old Godfrey Khotso Mokoena of South Africa and French record holder Salim Sdiri were also impressive in qualifying, and are expected to be in the medal hunt.
Another rare 21m put
The final in the women's Shot Put should come down to the trio of 19 metre throwers from the qualifying round: Nadezhda Ostapchuk of Belarus, New Zealand's former World junior champion Valerie Vili, and Russian Svetlana Krivelyova. Ostapchuk, with four of the five furthest performances this year, topped with her world-leading 21.09 - the first over 21 meters since 26-Aug 2000 - is clearly the woman to beat.
Demus versus World record holder
In the women's 400 metre Hurdles, we can expect a tight contest in the battle to succeed the sidelined Jana Pittman. Americans Lashinda Demus and Sandra Glover have run consistently well all summer, while World record holder Yuliya Pechonkina has once again threatened sub-53 territory with a 53.01. Poland's Anna Jesien has been among the most consistent hurdlers this summer as well, winning five of her nine races, and finishing runner-up in the other four.
In the women's 4x100 relay, the U.S. and Jamaican teams are the ones to beat. France, anchored in the semis by a weary-legged Christine Arron, will be in the hunt as well.
In the night-capping men's 4x100, Trinidad and Tobago, who cruised to a 38.23 national record, might be the team to beat. Great Britain, the reigning Olympic champions, along with France and Jamaica were the next fastest.
Competition also begins in the both the men’s and women’s 4x400 relays.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
Written coverage of the
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics,
Helsinki, Finland (6 – 14 August)
on the IAAF Website:
‘Event by Event’ PREVIEWS and REPORTS
provided by the
Helsinki 2005 local organizing committee media team
FEATURES - Gold medal winners
As in Paris 2003, the IAAF's own team of writers will be producing a feature story/interview with every individual gold medallist crowned in Helsinki 2005. These stories will be published as soon as possible after each final in the main NEWS section
Daily Highlights - Preview and Wrap
A concise preview at the start and a wrap of the main highlights of the competition will also be a daily aspect of the IAAF website's coverage of the World Championships.
Dunaway's 'Helsinki Herald'
And our regular major championship columnist Jim Dunaway will again give his own unique view of some of the more bizarre or quirky aspects surrounding events at Helsinki 2005.
We hope you will enjoy our coverage.
IAAF Editorial Manager