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World Champs’ new class

Published:Thursday | August 20, 2015 | 8:00 AMDania Bogle
O'Dayne Richards

All eyes will be on Jamaica's Elaine Thompson in the women's 200m at this World Championships in Athletics in Beijing.

Thompson is being touted as the female Bolt - meaning Usain Bolt - Jamaica's sprint sensation who holds world records in the men's 100m and 200m.

Since she sprinted to victory at the Inter-Collegiate Championships earlier this year, Thompson has been on an upward trajectory and with the United States' Allyson Felix opting not to run in the 200m, the Manchester native, who clocked a personal best 22.37 at the National Championships, is the odds on favourite to take gold.

The United States' 17-year-old, Kaylin Whitney, the teenager who won the 200m at the Pan American Games in Toronto, trains with Justin Gatlin. She set youth bests in the 100m (11.10) and 200m (22.49) during the USA Junior Championships and could win her first World Championships medal as part of the USA women's 4x100m team.

The Bahamas', Shaunae Miller, who burst onto the scene as a junior, is the second fastest woman over 400m this year (49.92) and the fifth fastest over 200m (22.14) and will contend with Thompson in the 200m and the USA's Allyson Felix over 400m in Beijing.

Miller is already confident, having won the World Indoors bronze medal to go along with the World Junior and World Youth titles she won in 2010 and 2011.

Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes, who has trained alongside Bolt in Jamaica, at the Glen Mills-headed Racers Track Club since he left Kingston College a year ago, will also hold much interest.

Hughes finished second to the reigning champion and world record holder, Bolt, over the distance this year and improved his personal best to 20.05 at the Diamond League meet in London. It's the Anguilla-born Hughes' first World Championships since being approved to run for Great Britain a few months ago.

 

real shot

 

O'Dayne Richards, who won the shot put title at the World University Games and Commonwealth Games last year, before claiming the Pan American Games title in Toronto, July, has a real shot at a medal. He will be on a high after having broken the national record to post 22.56 metres in Toronto. That mark placed him at third on the world list.

The Pan Am Games saw a whole new class of sprinting talent graduate and the 20-year-old Canadian, Andre de Grasse, will be one to watch. The 100m champion, who has a wind-assisted personal best 9.75 seconds, may not be able to match the speed of the senior class of Bolt or American Justin Gatlin, but his confidence will be high coming out of his hometown victories.

Sadly Canada were disqualified after winning the men's 4x100m in Toronto, but the team should have sorted out their mistakes over the last few weeks and will be looking to be right up there in the medals alongside Jamaica and the United States on the 30th.

Trayvon Bromell of the United States clocked the fastest time by a teenager at that country's national championships, where he posted 9.84 seconds in the 100m. Bromell has run sub-10 seconds four times already, which puts him in a category by himself as the fastest ever teenager over the distance.

Cuba has had a long history in the jumps - long, high and triple. Ivan Pedroso won gold in the long jump every year from 1995 to 2001. Pedro Pichardo, the Moscow triple jump silver medallist may feel that with two years experience under his belt, he can go one better this year after a confidence boosting win in Toronto with a mark of 17.54 metres.

Canada's youthful looking pole vaulter, Shawn Barber, at only 21, won the Pan Am Games title at home last month, an improvement off his bronze medal finish at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland a year before. He has posted a personal best 5.93m this year and will surely be looking to redeem himself after failing to qualify for the final in Moscow two years ago.