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Track and Field World Championships preview: The best of the best to battle for glory in Oregon

This is it. The big one.

For the world’s best track and field stars, no event this year comes even close to the importance and prestige of the World Athletics Championships.

For the first time ever, the championships take place in the USA as the greatest athletes from across the globe descend on Hayward Field in Oregon to compete for world honours.

Some 2,000 athletes will battle for glory, with 49 events taking place across an action-packed 10 days, and close to 150 medals on offer.

Will Elaine Thompson-Herah win more gold medals after her Tokyo 2020 sprint double? Can Mondo Duplantis break his own pole vault world record in Eugene? Will Sydney McLaughlin continue to prove untouchable in the 400m hurdles?

Find out everything you need to know about the World Athletics Championships in Oregon below.

When and where will the World Athletics Championships take place?

The championships will be held for the first time in the United States with the action taking place in the famous Hayward Field stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

Located on the campus of the University of Oregon, Hayward Field has housed the college’s athletics meets since 1921. The stadium, which boasts state-of-the-art facilities, has held seven Olympic trials, including the US trials for last year’s Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

This year, the World Athletics Championships kick off with the men’s hammer throw at 9:05 on 15 July and end with the finals of the women’s 4x400m relay at 19:50 on 24 July.

In between medals will be won, records will be broken and new champions crowned at the most anticipated athletics event of the year.

Top women to watch at the World Athletics Championships

Elaine Thompson-Herah

Thompson-Herah comes to the World Athletics Championships with a pedigree few can rival. At Tokyo 2020, the 30-year-old doubled down on her Rio 2016 victories in the 100m and 200m by winning gold in both events for the second Olympics in a row.

Things haven’t all gone the way of the Jamaican sprint sensation this season, as an injury-blighted campaign saw her finish third in the 100m and second in the 200m at the Jamaican national championships, which acted as the trials for the upcoming Worlds. Both times, the victor was 27-year-old Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson.

However, Thompson-Herah, who is a consummate championship performer, will still be a favourite to win a first individual world gold when she lines up in Oregon – that is if she can overcome the challenges of compatriots Jackson and eight-time Olympic medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in her quest for glory.

Sydney McLaughlin

“I mean it’s Track Town USA, what do you expect?” McLaughlin said after breaking her own world record at June’s US trials for the World Athletics Championships. “Every time I come here I can just feel something amazing is going to happen.”

Ominously for her rivals, the reigning Olympic 400m hurdles champion will be lining up at exactly the same Hayward Field track for the upcoming Worlds. Her 51.41 in June shaved 0.05 seconds off of her previous best set at the Tokyo 2020 Games. However, expectations are high that she will once again lower the record as she battles a stellar field including Rio 2016 Olympic champion and defending world champion Dalilah Muhammad.

Yulimar Rojas

Nicknamed the ‘queen of the triple jump’, Yulimar Rojas has been a revelation in the discipline since winning silver at Rio 2016.

Two world golds and an Olympic title have followed, in addition to outdoor and indoor world records of 15.67m and 15.74m set at Tokyo 2020 and the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade respectively.

The irrepressible Venezuelan will have all eyes fixated on her as she looks to add to her resume with World Championships gold and, perhaps even, a new world record.

Allyson Felix

There’s only one word that springs to mind when thinking about seven-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix: Legend.

The 36-year-old, who is the most decorated female track and field athlete in Olympic history and most decorated – male or female – in World Championships history, is in the midst of her final season in the sport having announced her retirement earlier this year.

And while individual medals are off the table, she will have the chance to help her team to victory in the 4x400m relay.

Athing Mu

From one athlete at the end of her career to another who is just getting started. Athing Mu was a revelation at Tokyo 2020 after her gold medal-winning performance in the women’s 800m.

The 20-year-old who holds the American national record of 1:55.04 is also only the second woman from her country to ever win Olympic 800m gold. Now she will be aiming to add to her growing stature by standing on the top step of the podium in Oregon.

Faith Kipyegon

For two Olympic Games, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon has been unstoppable at 1500m. Gold in Rio was followed last year with another stunning victory at Tokyo 2020, with a World Championships gold medal sandwiched in between them at London 2017.

At 28 years old, Kipyegon is in the prime of her career and will be once again aiming for the top at these World Athletics Championships. The Kenyan national record holder won silver at the last Worlds in Doha and will be aiming for one better this year.

Top men to watch at the World Athletics Championships

Mondo Duplantis

So often in international competition, Sweden’s Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis has found himself in a league of his own. The reigning Olympic pole vault champion is also the indoor and outdoor world record holder, with the indoor mark of 6.20m falling at this year’s World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and the outdoor record of 6.16m broken on 30 June during the Stockholm Diamond League.

Expect more fireworks in Oregon, as Duplantis aims for one of the only honours missing from his resume – a World Championships gold medal. At the last Worlds in Doha, the 22-year-old could only claim silver in a competition won by the USA’s Sam Kendricks. Can he make it onto the top step of the podium in Oregon?

Neeraj Chopra

At Tokyo 2020, India’s Neeraj Chopra made history by becoming his country’s first-ever track and field gold medallist at the Olympics.

Still only 24 years old and with six major championship golds to his name, the javelin thrower will have over a billion people cheering him on as he looks to replicate his Olympic success at this year’s World Championships.

However, if Chopra is to fulfil his goal, he will need to make it past some formidable talent, including Grenada’s Anderson Peters whose personal best of 93.07m is over three metres farther than Chopra’s Indian national record of 89.94m.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen

As Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen raced past the finish line in a new Olympic record at Tokyo 2020, there was a feeling among the athletics community that this would be the start of a period of dominance rarely seen in the sport.

Still only 21 years old and with an Olympic gold medal to his name, the 1500m specialist will be aiming to transcend his fourth place at the last World Championships in Doha.

Ingebrigsten will line up in two events in Oregon, with 5000m also on his radar. He is the reigning European champion over the longer distance.

Karsten Warholm

Another Norwegian on the list is Olympic 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm. The 29-year-old, who famously broke the world record at Tokyo 2020 when he won the gold medal, is also a double world champion in the event, having taken the top honours at London 2017 and Doha 2019.

Now the fleet-footed hurdler, who provided one of the images of last year’s Games when he tore his shirt open Hulk-style at the end of the Olympic final, will be aiming for a famous third gold when he takes to the Hayward Field track this month.

Marcell Jacobs

When Olympic legend Usain Bolt hung up his spikes the question on many people’s lips was who would take on the title of ‘World’s Fastest Man’? Few at the time would have put their money on Italian sprinter Marcell Jacobs.

However, when the heat was on in the Olympic 100m final of Tokyo 2020, Jacobs proved himself to be the fastest in the field, winning the title in a new European record of 9.80.

Victory in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships consolidated his position as one of the greatest sprinters competing today and, while his outdoor season has been blighted by injury and illness, the 27-year-old will be one of the favourites in the blue ribband 100m event in Oregon.

Joshua Cheptegei

The reigning Olympic 5000m and world 10,000m champion, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei has taken middle distance running to new heights over the last half a decade. A world record holder at both 5 and 10k, the 25-year-old carries with him an air of expectation every time he competes.

At Tokyo 2020, the biggest surprise was that Cheptegei was beaten to gold in the 10,000m final as Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega won by less than half a second.

However, it speaks to his reputation that the defeat still hasn’t stopped him being installed as a clear favourite at this July’s Worlds.

Schedule for the finals of the 2022 World Athletics Championships

All times in local time (CET -9)

Day 1: 15 July Morning Session

13:10 W 20 Kilometres Race Walk Final

15:10 M 20 Kilometres Race Walk Final

Day 1: 15 July Afternoon Session

19:50 X 4×400 Metres Relay Final

Day 2: 16 July Morning Session

12:00 M Hammer Throw Final

12:20 W 10,000 Metres Final

Day 2: 16 July Afternoon Session

18:20 M Long Jump Final

18:25 W Shot Put Final

19:50 M 100 Metres Final

Day 3: 17 July Morning Session

06:15 M Marathon Final

11:35 W Hammer Throw Final

13:00 M 10,000 Metres Final

Day 3: 17 July Afternoon Session

17:25 W Pole Vault Final

18:27 M Shot Put Final

19:30 M 110 Metres Hurdles Final

19:50 W 100 Metres Final

Day 4: 18 July Morning Session

06:15 W Marathon Final

Day 4: 18 July Afternoon Session

17:45 M High Jump Final

18:20 W Triple Jump Final

18:55 W 800 Metres Heptathlon (final event)

19:20 M 3000 Metres Steeplechase Final

19:50 W 1500 Metres Final

Day 5: 19 July Afternoon Session

17:40 W High Jump Final

18:33 M Discus Throw Final

19:30 M 1500 Metres Final

19:50 M 400 Metres Hurdles Final

Day 6: 20 July Afternoon Session

18:30 W Discus Throw Final

19:45 W 3000 Metres Steeplechase Final

Day 7: 21 July Afternoon Session

19:35 W 200 Metres Final

19:50 M 200 Metres Final

Day 8: 22 July Morning Session

06:15 W 35 Kilometres Race Walk Final

Day 8: 22 July Afternoon Session

18:20 W Javelin Throw Final

19:15 W 400 Metres Final

19:35 M 400 Metres Final

19:50 W 400 Metres Hurdles Final

Day 9: 23 July Afternoon Session

18:00 M Triple Jump Final

18:10 M 800 Metres Final

18:25 W 5000 Metres Final

18:35 M Javelin Throw Final

19:30 W 4×100 Metres Relay Final

19:50 M 4×100 Metres Relay Final

Day 10: 24 July Afternoon Session

06:15 M 35 Kilometres Race Walk Final

17:25 M Pole Vault Final

17:50 W Long Jump Final

18:05 M 5000 Metres Final

18:35 W 800 Metres Final

19:00 W 100 Metres Hurdles Final

19:20 M 1500 Metres Decathlon (final event)

19:35 M 4×400 Metres Relay Final

19:50 W 4×400 Metres Relay Final

Credit: Olympics

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