Five to watch at Beijing World Athletics Championships
Five athletes to watch out for at the August 22-30 World Athletics Championships in Beijing:
Beijing: Five athletes to watch out for at the August 22-30 World Athletics Championships in Beijing:
Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (JPN)
Sani Brown, born in Fukuoka in Japan to a Japanese mother and Ghanaian father, promises to take the sprinting world by storm. The now Tokyo resident, just 16, was one of the star performers at last month`s world youth championships in Cali, Colombia, winning an impressive sprint double. In winning, he clocked championship records of 10.28sec in the 100m and 20.34sec in the 200m, the latter breaking the record previously set by one Usain Bolt. That time also confirmed him as a member of the Japanese team in Beijing, where he will be the youngest athlete ever to compete in the 200m in the history of the world champs. He is also down for the 4x100m relay.
Zharnel Hughes (GBR)
The British team has been criticised for taking in a number of "plastic Brits", but in Anguillan-born recruit Hughes, they might have unveiled a promising talent. The 20-year-old was eligible for Britain because the Caribbean island of Anguilla is a British Overseas Territories. He now trains in Jamaica with Usain Bolt and the step-up in intensity has paid dividends. Hughes, standing a towering 1.92m tall, blasted to a life-time best of 20.05sec in the 200m at the London Diamond League meet last month and heads the season standings in the discipline.
Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT)
Could this be the moment for the 24-year-old Doha-born Barshim to confirm his undoubted talent? The Qatari won bronze at the London Olympics before going on to claim silver at the Moscow worlds a year later and the world indoor gold in Sopot last season. In 2014, the 6ft 2in (1.89 metre) jumper also set his outdoor best of 2.43m, just 2cm short of Cuban Javier Sotomayor`s world record. With the likes of Ukraine`s reigning world high jump champion Bohdan Bondarenko, Russian Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov, Canadian Derek Drouin, American Erik Kynard and Chinese hope Guowei Zhang also pushing hard, Barshim has the opportunity to step up and supplant the last Qatari to shine on the world stage, Saif Saaed Shaheen, formerly known as Kenyan Stephen Cherono.
Pedro Pablo Pichardo (CUB)
Much like Barshim, Pichardo is bidding to not only confirm his status as the world`s best but also break Jonathan Edwards` long-standing world triple jump record. The 22-year-old Cuban claimed silver in the Moscow worlds two years ago and a bronze at the Sopot world indoors, but this season he has jumped out to 18.08m, taking him to third in the all-time list. American Christian Taylor, the reigning Olympic champion and 2011 world champion, has also gone beyond the mythical 18-metre mark in 2015, and he and Pichardo are sure to push themselves to the limit in a much-anticipated battle for gold and a tilt at Edwards` world record mark of 18.29m.
Genzebe Dibaba (ETH)
The 24-year-old Dibaba has hit the headlines consistently over the last couple of seasons. Most recently, she set last month`s Lausanne Diamond League meet alight when she scorched to a new world record in the 1500m, shattering the previous best that belonged to one Yunxia Qu of China, set in Beijing in 1993 under the guidance of controversial coach Ma Junren. For Dibaba, the two-time world indoor champion over the distance, the record was, remarkably, her fourth currently held, but first outdoors. She also holds the world records for the indoor 1500, 3000 and 5000m events. In Beijing she will also attack the 5000m, the world record for which is held by none other than her elder sister Tirunesh.