Berlin 2009 – Expected highlights / DAILY PREVIEW – Day Three, 17 Aug
A general view of the Berlin Olympic stadium during Day Two of the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics (Getty Images)
Berlin, Germany – After the excitement and celebration of last night’s World record 100 metres by Usain Bolt (9.58sec), we can only applaud the presence of whoever decided to have a blank morning on the programme – to give us the opportunity to get over it!
Nevertheless, with six finals in the evening session of Day Three at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Berlin, Germany (15 – 23 August), we’ll quickly be back into the swing of things. And with four of the six being women’s finals, we’re in for a Ladies’ Night (17).
With semis and final tonight, the women’s 100 metres is not going to be as clear cut as the men’s race now seems, although with three of the top performers of the year, and that sweep of medals in Beijing last summer, the Jamaican women are again going to be hard to beat, with the likelihood that one of them will join Bolt as the distaff sprint title holder.
Kerron Stewart has had the edge this season, and clocked the fastest time of round two – 10.92sec. But Carmelita Jeter of the USA clearly stated her intention to at least emulate Tyson Gay’s silver when she stayed ahead of Olympic champ Shelly-Ann Fraser, with a 10.94sec clocking. Fraser was an easy second though, just outside 11sec, and the third Jamaican, Veronica Campbell-Brown also went sub 11, with 10.99sec, to suggest a four-way fight, with Lauryn Williams (11.06sec last night) the most likely interloper.
Women’s Pole Vault
Highlight of the night, in altitude terms, is likely to be the queen of the infield, Yelena Isinbayeva. Unaccountably, the Russian has lost this season. OK, it was only once, to Anna Rogowska, in London. But the Pole also raised her best to 4.80 metres this season, just five centimetres shy of Izzie’s equally unaccountable season’s high. On paper, Fabiana Murer’s 4.82m Brazilian record should also make her a contender to dislodge Isinbayeva’s crown. But common sense tells us that at the end of what is bound to be another long night – hopefully not into Cinderella territory, i.e. close to midnight, as it was in Beijing – then the glass slipper, er, the gold medal will again be strung around Isinbayeva neck.
Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
Another statuesque Russian favourite is Gulnara Galkina, Olympic 3000m Steeplechase champion and the first, and only woman under nine minutes, in Beijing last year. Her colleague Yekaterina Volkova, who is defending champion (having beaten Galkina in Osaka, though taking silver in Beijing) should again challenge the world record holder.
But the veteran Spaniard Marta Dominguez (two World Championship silvers at 5000m) has made a breakthrough to the fastest time in the world this year, 9:09.39. Dominguez fell in the Olympic Games, and at 33-years-old may be on her last chance of global golden glory. But she is a tenacious competitor, and will provide an entertaining challenge to Russian hegemony in the ‘chase.
Women’s Triple Jump
With double Olympic champion Francoise Mbango of Cameroon out of form (and not competing here), and perennial contender (and twice champion) Tatyana Levedeva of Russia on the gentle wane, the women’s Triple Jump looks open for unbeaten this season Yargelis Savigne to successfully defend. The Cuban who is the reigning World champion, has been on scintillating form this year, and a defeat would be the major upset of the evening.
Linet Masai said she hoped her brother Moses (and compatriots) would take the example of her victory over the Ethiopians into his contest with defending champion and World record holder Kenenisa Bekele, and World Cross Country champion, Gebre-egzhiaber Gebremariam and colleagues in the men’s 10,000 metres tonight.
And it’s virtually assured that the final laps, at least will again come down to a East African struggle for glory which also includes multiple World Half Marathon champion Eritrean Zersenay Tadesse, of course. Injuries at the start of the year means that Bekele hasn’t been as convincing this season, but it would have to be something like the long drive for home that Linet Masai used against Defar and Melkamu to beat him.
Men’s Hammer Throw
Pars v Kozmus doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Bolt v Gay. But with close to a score of unbeaten contests behind him since Beijing, Hungarian Kristian Pars will be looking to reverse the Olympic order on Primoz Kozmus of Slovenia. Some old favourites, like former Olympic and World champ Szymon Ziolkowski of Poland, and perennial placer Koji Mirofushi of Japan will be in the mix. But it should come down to Pars and Kozmus swinging for gold.
Pat Butcher for the IAAF