Five athletes to watch in Doha World Athletics Championships

Noah Lyles

Noah Lyles   | Photo Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos

The most exciting events and athletes to keep an eye on this World Championships

A new king cometh?

He could be the next big thing in world athletics, someone who could occupy the throne vacated by Usain Bolt, but he’s intent on establishing his own reign.

“Why do I have to be the next him? Me? I’m the current Noah Lyles,” the 22-year-old American said recently.

A former under-20 champion, Lyles considered running both the 100m and the 200m in Doha, but decided to contest only the longer event at the US Trials.

A regular Diamond League winner this season, his world-leading 19.50s in Lausanne made many jump up in shock. Lyles has an eye on Bolt’s world record of 19.19s. Incidentally, he is also the second-fastest 100m runner (9.86s) in the world this year.

Behold the air-walker

Juan Miguel Echevarria

Juan Miguel Echevarria   | Photo Credit: Michael Steele


The winds helped carry him to a mighty 8.92m jump in Havana in March and Cuba’s world indoor champion Juan Miguel Echevarria, the world leader with 8.65m under legal wind conditions, will be the big favourite in the men’s long jump. The 21-year-old is far ahead of the rest of the field; South Africa’s defending champion Luvo Manyonga, though not at his best, will be his main rival. Will Mike Powell’s 8.95m world record be in danger? One thing is certain: M. Sreeshankar’s eyes will be glued on the two.

Jamaica’s sprinters, still the benchmark

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson   | Photo Credit: Matthias Hangst


She took time off in 2017 to have her first child and on return, this summer, Jamaica’s two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has proved that she has lost none of her speed, clocking a world-leading 10.73s in the 100m in Kingston in June. Ready to give her a strong challenge will be compatriot and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, who joins her on top of the world list with the same time.

Three pursue Young’s old record

Karsten Warholm

Karsten Warholm   | Photo Credit: Patrick Smith


Kevin Young’s 46.78s, set in 1992, is track’s oldest men’s world record, but it might be under threat in Doha. Not one but three men — Norway’s defending champion Karsten Warholm (PB 46.92), American Rai Benjamin (46.98) and the Qatari Abderrahman Samba (46.98) — are capable of breaking the 400m hurdles record.

The winning time at the Rio Olympics and the last Worlds were very slow but in the last two seasons, Warholm, Benjamin and Samba have combined to clock five of the nine fastest times in history. The hurdles will surely be hot in Doha.

The end of Germany’s javelin dominance?

Magnus Kirt

Magnus Kirt   | Photo Credit: Alexander Hassenstein


The Germans have ruled men’s javelin these last few years. Thomas Rohler and Johannes Vetter have taken the last Olympic and World titles respectively but by the look of things, that domination could be coming to an end. The Germans have topped the world list the last three seasons, but this year, it is Estonian Magnus Kirt who heads the chart. A healthy Neeraj Chopra would have been in the mix, and Indian fans will hope that he recovers fully and returns to where he belongs.

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Printable version | Jun 29, 2020 1:51:22 AM |

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