London 2017 | Bolt, McLeod, 4x100m relay tipped for gold
It's Usain Bolt's final IAAF World Championships, and he should sign off with gold in the men's 100 metres.
Despite a low-keyed season where he has only competed three times, with only one sub-10 seconds, 9.95, in Monaco, Bolt will not be beaten and will finish his career on a successful note as he will turn back the challenges of all his pretenders.
Only Christian Coleman of the United States, with a 9.82 clocking, has posted a legal sub-9.9 all season, and after a very hectic collegiate season, he should not be a problem for the "big man". The others with chances for medals are Justin Gatlin, the over-raced Akini Simbine of South Africa, Andre De Grasse of Canada and Jamaica's Yohan Blake.
Blake has not competed since the National Championships, but once he reports in the right frame of mind, he could make it a one-two for Jamaica.
100M TOP THREE
1. USAIN BOLT (JAM)
2. YOHAN BLAKE (JAM)
3. Andre De Grasse (Canada)
A new champion will be crowned here as Bolt will run only the 100m. In his absence, this could become a wide open affair. The main men are 400m specialists Isaac Makwala of Botswana and South African Wayde Van Niekerk, who will match strides with the genuine half lappers like De Grasse and Yohan Blake. Makwala, with a best of 19.77, and Van Niekerk (19.84) have the two fastest times going into the competition, but after what is expected to be a gruelling three rounds of 400m, they may not have enough legs for three more rounds of 200m.
De Grasse should be the man to beat but the very classy Van Niekerk is expected to win the 400m and could close his double here.
200M TOP THREE
1.Wayde Van Niekerk (SA))
2. Andre De Grasse (Can)
3. Isaac Makwala (Bot)
Wayde van Niekerk will use his class to prevail here, and with the 200 metres in mind, he will not chase a world record as he wants to save for that event. With his usual good early speed, Makwala will lead, but he will be pressed for a medal by teammate Thebe Baboloki and new American sensation Fred Kerley.
400M TOP THREE
1. Wayne Van Niekerk (SA)
2. Isaac Makwala (Bot)
3. 3. Fred Kerley (USA)
With two global crowns last year, the Indoor World 60m hurdles and the Olympic 110m hurdles titles, Jamaica's Omar McLeod will be the hot favourite for his first IAAF World outdoor title.
McLeod was beaten at the Paris Diamond League, but he had calf problems. He will be aiming now to go faster than the personal best 12.90 seconds he did at the National Championships.
It will be close for the other two medals. Rising Jamaican star Ronald Levy, with a season's and personal best of 13.05 seconds, has looked in solid form all season. The likes of defending champion Sergey Shubenkov, who has looked better and better after every race, American Aries Merritt and Spain's Orlando Ortega should all make this a special event.
110M HURDLES TOP THREE
1. OMAR MCLEOD (JAM)
2. Sergey Shubenkov (ANIA)
3. Aries Merritt (USA)
Only one athlete, so far, has gone sub-48 seconds in this event - British Virgin Islands' (BVI) Kyron McMaster. McMaster clocked a personal best 47.80 to win at the Jamaica International Invitational meet in Kingston in May. He proved at the London Diamond League meet that his win in Kingston was no fluke as he led for most of the way before being caught close home by American Kerron Clement. Clement won in 48.02 with McMaster second in 48.12. The youngster would have learnt a lot from his London run and is poised to give the BVI their biggest win at this level.
400M HURDLES TOP THREE
1. Kyron McMaster (BVI)
2. Kerron Clement (USA)
3. Yasmani Copello (Tur)
The country's best hope of a field medal will come in this event. The former World Youth and World Junior champion, Fedrick Dacres, looks set to give the country its first medal in the event at this level. He has been in tremendous form and was the number-one man for most of the season before giving way to Daniel Stahl of Sweden. Dacres has a best of 68.88 metres to Stahl's 71.29m. The medals will be shared among Dacres, Stahl and Andrius Gudzius of Lithuana, but who will get the gold? Any number can play, but Stahl is given the slight edge.
DISCUS TOP THREE
1. Daniel Stahl (Swe)
2. FEDRICK DACRES (JAM)
3. Andrius Gudzius (Lith)
Bolt is expected to end his career on a high by anchoring Jamaica to victory here. Nesta Carter, Asafa Powell and Kemar Bailey Cole are absent, but with Blake in the line-up and any two to accompany him, Jamaica, barring mishap, will come home ahead of the United States, Great Britain and Canada.
4x100M TOP THREE
3. Great Britain
United States have too much firepower here and will win ahead of a quality Botswana quartet. Jamaica will miss the very good of Javon Francis. Nathon Allen and Demish Gaye will be forced to run a few rounds of hard individual 400m and this could affect their medal chances. For the bronze medal, it will be a battle among Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands, England and Jamaica.
4x400M TOP THREE
The Jamaican men should walk away with six medals at the end of the Championships - three gold, two silver and a bronze - giving the country an overall tally of 10 medals.
NOTE: The preview of selected events for women was published yesterday.