The rain delays were quite the start to day one. But after stormy Saturday at the World Athletics Chamionships Budapest 23, Sunday can’t be quite as bad, can it?
Day two brings six gold medals, beginning once again at Heroes’ Square with the women’s 20km race walk and ending with the longest (10,000m) and shortest (100m) men’s track events at the National Athletics Centre.
On the field, there’s the women’s long jump and men’s hammer; and the heptathlon is completed with the long jump and javelin in the morning followed by the 800m in the evening. You’ll be tired just watching!
Garcia-Perez? Perez-Garcia? Or someone else?
Peru’s Kimberley Garcia was the queen of Oregon’s roads last year as she doubled for gold medals in both the 20km and 35km race walks.
Spain’s Maria Perez is set on ending Garcia’s golden thread at two. She broke the Peruvian athlete’s world record for 35km earlier this year and leads the 20km world list from her rival by just over a minute.
But wait, there are others. 2017 world champion Yang Jiayu heads a strong Chinese trio; Australia’s Jemima Montag will be itching to step up from fourth place in Oregon to a medal; Italy’s Olympic champion Antonetta Palmisano is sure to be a contender after overcoming injury issues.
The loop goes up and down along Budapest’s World Heritage-listed Andrássy Avenue. Expect the competitive fire to get hotter lap by lap.
The long and the short of it
Day two closes with the shortest and longest men’s track events on the programme. The 100m comes first; don’t blink or you’ll miss it. The 10,000m follows for those who prefer to watch races develop.
Defending champion Fred Kerley starts as slight favourite in the 100m in a very even field. Britain’s Zharnel Hughes is the fastest man in the world this year. His past specialty, though, has been the 200m, which is also the domain of another possible 100m contender, Noah Lyles.
The same was true of Usain Bolt – until he won the Olympic sprint double in Beijing in 2008.
Italy’s Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs has little current form to recommend him (nine races indoors at 60m, including European indoor silver, and a 10.21 clocking at the Paris Diamond League in early-June). Then there’s South Africa’s Akani Simbine, Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala and Jamaica’s Oblique Seville.
They can’t all crowd on to the medals’ podium – much less the top step.
From a single 100m to a hundred consecutive 100m bring us to the 10,000m in which Joshua Cheptegei will defend his title and has a great chance of doing so successfully. He seems equally adept at championship racing as he is at the pace-made Diamond League distance events. He might not be the biggest kicker around, but his finishing speed is pretty darned good.
Even in the absence of Cheptegei’s Ugandan teammate, world cross-country champion Jacob Kiplimo (hamstring), there are many threats. Berihu Aregawi split Kiplimo and Cheptegei in finishing second at the World Cross Country. With teammates Selemon Barega, the Olympic champion, and Yismaw Dilu, Ethiopia fields a trio of medal contenders.
The closing stages of this race should be something special.
Who steps in when Mihambo steps out?
With Olympic and two-time world champion Malaika Mihambo out due to injury, the women’s long jump becomes one of the most open events in the championships.
Will it be Jamaica’s Ackelia Smith, world leader at 7.08m, two-time world indoor champion Ivana Vuleta, US champion Tara Davis Woodhall or multiple championships medallist Ese Brume of Nigeria?
Hammering it home
In the night’s other field final, Poland’s world leader Wojciech Nowicki will be looking for his first World Championships gold medal after finishing third, second, fourth and second in the past four editions. In stark contrast Nowicki’s teammate, Pawel Fajdek, will be aiming for his sixth win in the event.
Ethan Katzberg was the biggest surprise of the qualifying round, smashing the Canadian record with 81.18m, but the biggest cheers from the crowd will be reserved for home hope Bence Halasz.
Continuing or just getting started are the 1500m for men (heats) and women (semifinals), the men’s 400m hurdles with world record-holder Karsten Warholm, the women’s 100m where Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce goes for a sixth title, and the men’s high jump and 110m hurdles.
Credit: World Athletics