When it comes to world athletics, the world seems to be in limbo. The household names have now retired and the up and coming, while every bit as talented as the previous crop, are not yet at the point where they have broken out into general celebrity.
SW we take a look at some of the ones to keep your eyes on during the competition in Oregon. We’ll start with the women.
Larissa Iaphichino – Italy
Women’s Long Jump
The daughter of two former athletes, Italian pole vaulter Gianni Iaphichino and British long jumper Fiona May, the 19-year-old Iaphichino set a world under-20 indoor record in February with her 6.91 meter effort, making her one to keep firmly in your vision.
Beatrice Masilingi – Namibia
Together with teammate Christine Mboma, Masilingi got unexpectedly caught up in the Differences in Sex Development rules that meant that her naturally high testosterone levels ruled her out of her 800m catgory. Dropping down to 200m, she won silver in Tokyo a few months later. Now two years into her new distance, look for that result to get better.
Mary Moraa – Kenya
Switching from the 400m to the 800m at the age of 20 is a tricky prospect, but Moraa has managed to go from slow, to quick, to fourth-fastest in the world, and she did all of that in just over two years. Now 22, she is in the best shape of her life, and her 1:57 half-mile of her makes her a real podium hopeful in Oregon.
Favor Ofili – Nigeria
Women’s 100m, Women’s 200m
Having broken the NCAA 200m record, and held it for nearly two months earlier this year, Ofili is anything but the shrinking violet. She is one of the best in the world, and she makes no bones about her intentions in Oregon, saying to the press, “I am going there to win.” Well, Favour, we believe you.
Elaine Thompson-Herah – Jamaica
Women’s 100m, Women’s 200m
One of the greatest pedigrees in world athletics, Thompson-Herah comes to Oregon as a two-time Olympic gold medalist, pulling off the back-to-back feat in Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2020. The 30-year-old has been plagued by injury this season, though, and even hobbled is still one of the fastest women on the planet. She is a gold favorite every time she lines up in the starting blocks.
Yulimar Rojas – Venezuela
Women’s Triple Jump
the young Queen of the Triple Jump came from nowhere to take silver in Rio, then follow it up with two world gold medals and another in Tokyo. She set world records for both indoor and outdoor at Tokyo and then again in Belgrade last month. Her star de ella is rising faster than a comet and you definitely do not want to miss any of her jumps de ella.
Faith Kipyegon – Kenya
Winning gold in Rio and then again in Tokyo, the 28-year-old is in the prime of her career. She is an unstoppable force and is coming off a silver medal in the last WCH, to step beneath what she is accustomed to. Here in Oregon, she will be on the podium, and she will give everything to make sure that she will be wearing gold when she is there.
and the men you should watch out for include some that won’t remain off the general public’s radar for very much longer.
Ackeem Blake – Jamaica
Men’s 100m, Men’s 4x100m
Jamaican sprinters are some of the very best in the world, and they now have a new face to join the pack, with Blake running sub-10s three times this season. The numbers have been tumbling and his personal best of 9.93 may just get a bit shaved off of it in Oregon.
Letsile Tebogo – Botswana
Earlier this year, the 19-year-old clocked up 9.96 seconds in a home meet in Gaborone, Botswana, only to see the time, which would have set a new world under-20 record, rejected by World Athletics due to lack of equipment testing. He has now traveled to Eugene to show the world that he really can run that fast, and we can’t wait to see him do it!
Sasha Zhoya – France
Men’s 110m hurdles
Australian-born, Zimbabwean-French 20-year-old Sasha Zhoya currently holds the youth world record at 12.87 and the world under-20 record at 12.72 on age-appropriate hurdles. Now running at senior level, I have recorded a 13.17 to win the French national championships. He is a rising star and will certainly kick off his senior career here in Oregon.
Mondo Duplantis – Sweden
Men’s pole vault
Sweden’s Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis is a man apart, a one-man-gang. he is the reigning Olympic pole vault champion, as well as the indoor and outdoor world record holder, setting a new indoor mark of 6.20m in Belgrade and breaking the outdoor record of 6.16m just two weeks ago during the Stockholm Diamond League. He is all fire and more than a bit of ice. The only thing that he hasn’t won? A gold at the World Athletics Championships.
Karsten Warholm – Norway
Men’s 400m hurdles
Two-time, reigning champion in the WCH, taking top prize in London 2017 and Doha 2019, famously set the world on fire when he broke the world record in Tokyo, tearing his shirt, Hulk-style. He will be looking to defend all that he has fought for and will be the favorite for the gold.
Joshua Cheptegei – Uganda
Men’s 5000m, Men’s 10,000m
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei has taken middle distance running to entirely new levels, winning the Olympic 5000m in Tokyo and world 10,000m in Doha, he holds the world record in both events and that sets him above all of his opposition. Losing out on the 10,000m gold in Tokyo for less than a half a second, he will certainly be looking to right that wrong here.
Ferdinand Omanyala – Kenya
Africa’s fastest man has had visa troubles, getting his papers approved to fly in only hours before his race. In a farce of epic proportions, the 26-year-old Kenyan sprinter will have to sprint from the plane, through customs, to a car, to the track, to get his credentials from him, to the starting blocks. After setting the Kenyan record in the Tokyo games, he then set at 9.85 time in Nairobi before winning the African Championships just a few weeks ago. His drama will be golden if he can repeat those performances here.
In other athletics news…