After a steady and oftentimes impressive rise from the U20 ranks, Ajee Wilson seems to have finally come of age in the 800m, arriving in Doha as a solid gold medal threat.
The world U18 champion in 2011 and global U20 champion in 2012, Wilson has since won back-to-back silver medals at World Indoor Championships and the bronze medal outdoors in 2017. Now, at 25, Wilson will start as the fastest woman in the field at 1:57.72 with two of the season's four fastest performances to her credit.
Wilson won six of eight races outdoors in 2019, including the US title --her tenth overall-- and Diamond League stops in Stockholm, Monaco and Birmingham before cruising to the series win in Brussels.
Behind her, the field of challengers is wide open.
Jamaican champion Natoya Goule has pieced together a notable season, winning the Pan-American Games title, finished second in Paris and Monaco, the latter with a 1:57.90 season's best, but slid to a distant fifth at the Diamond League final.
Wilson's teammate Raevyn Rogers could also be factor. The 23-year-old clocked her 1:58.65 season's best at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford on 30 June, finished third at the US championships to earn her Doha ticket, and finished second in Brussels behind Wilson to ride solid momentum to the Qatari capital.
Lynsey Sharp, the 2012 European champion who was sixth at the Olympic Games in Rio three years ago, is still chasing an elusive world championships medal. Eighth at these championships two years ago, the 29-year-old clocked 1:58.61 to win in London in July and later finished second at Birmingham's Diamond League fixture and at the national championships but could do no better than sixth in Brussels where the Diamond Trophy was on the line.
Experience matters in championship 800m racing, so don't discount Kenyan Eunice Sum, the 2013 world champion and bronze medallist in 2015. The 31-year-old clocked a 1:58.99 season's best at altitude at the Kenyan Trials where she finished second to earn a return trip to the global championships.
Others to watch including rising stars Catriona Bisset of Australia, who broke a long-standing national record with a 1:58.78 run in London, Winnie Nanyondo, who clocked 1:58.83 in Monaco and also brought Uganda's national 1500m record into sub-4 territory with a 3:59.56 performance in Rabat, and Cuba's Rose Mary Almanza, the Pan-American Games silver medallist.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF