Great Britain in the men's 4x100m heats at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (© Getty Images)
There’s a lot to watch out for on day nine of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, almost too numerous to mention, in fact.
With preliminaries more or less completed, most events are finals. It’s also relay time and, to cap day nine and run as into the wee, small hours of day 10, the men’s marathon will be decided down on the Corniche.
Can’t wait? Sorry, you’ll just have to.
One thing you can say for certain about relays is that you can’t say anything for certain about relays.
Getting the baton around safely should be the simplest thing in the world. Mark out your own checkpoints within the changeover zone, add a margin for safety, wait for baton to arrive and proceed with it firmly in your grip. What could go wrong? Plenty, experience would suggest.
Day nine brings the finals of both men’s and women’s 4x100m relays and the heats of the 4x400m. The usual sprint powers will be to the fore, but one of the joys is seeing well-drilled, highly motivated squads upsetting the established order.
Who will it be here? (Note: it will happen).
The Corniche is one of Doha’s busiest roads. It is closed to traffic for the World Championships road events, but that will not bring an end to the mayhem. Instead, the chaos will ensue on foot as the world’s best male marathoners battle it out for the gold medal.
Defending champion Geoffrey Kirui leads a strong Kenyan contingent. The two quickest entrants are Ethiopian pair Mosinet Geremew (second to Eliud Kipchige in London this year) and Mule Wasihun (third).
That said, you may like to check how often the fastest entrant wins any marathon, much less a championship, much, much less a championships run in Doha conditions. The winner is on that start list somewhere: but where?
Women’s 1500m and 5000m
In a glut of women’s track distance running, the finals of both the 1500m and 5000m are on the programme.
Sifan Hassan will start favourite in the shorter race, but there are many contenders. Defending champion Faith Kipyegon may be short of races as she comes back from the birth of her first child, but she is a formidable competitor. Jenny Simpson and Laura Muir are, too. Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford has gone from strength to strength this year.
The 5000m is a similarly open contest. Defending champion Hellen Obiri was fastest in the heats, but plenty of others will fancy their chances.
The big men contend
The men’s shot put looms as a battle of titans and a titanic battle. Tom Walsh led the qualifiers, but Olympic champion Ryan Crouser and several others were not far behind.
Walsh seems to be peaking nicely and New Zealand always seems to win something at major championships (if that means anything).
Eight men have topped 22 metres this year; six are in the final. It should be a close one.
Elsewhere on the field, there is the clash between Yulimar Rojas and Catherine Ibarguen in the women’s triple jump. Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts and Tori Franklin of the US loom as the best outside the big two.
To complete the programme, there are heats of the women’s 100m hurdles and qualifying in the women’s long jump and men’s javelin.
Len Johnson for the IAAF