The RunBlogRun World Champs Preview, for Women, by Cathal Dennehy


Beijing, China, August 19, 2015

It is Wednesday, August 19, and 3:53 PM local time in Beijing. After arriving at 2 PM on Tuesday, there was time taken getting our credentials, finding hotel, and getting some sleep. My two hour nap moved to four. A nice 1 am walk was followed by a bowl of soup and some parts of a chicken (chopped, nicely spiced, unidentifiable), and a walk back to the hotel.

The Seb Coe election today, and the conduct with which the election was run, should make all who love the sport and are worried about its current problems pleased. Seb Coe will be a fine leader for the worlds' greatest sport! Sergey Bubka, showing the class that he has, congratulated Seb Coe on his election. At 115-92, it was a battle to the finish.

Here is the preview of the women's events at the IAAF World Champs, courtesy of Cathal Dennehy, one half of the crazy team that puts together, one of our favorite sites!

100m: The Shelly-Ann Show

Frasier_ShellyAnn-Pre15.jpgShelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, photo by

Since she first announced herself to the world at the Olympics Games in Beijing back in 2008, Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been beaten only once in five global 100m championships - finishing fourth in Daegu in 2011. That blip aside, she's collected two Olympic 100m titles and two world 100m titles over that period. Fraser-Pryce will only compete over 100m in Beijing and, given her form so far this summer, all signs suggest she'll prove just as unbeatable as she was in the same stadium seven years ago.

Fraser-Pryce has run 10.74 already this year, and has proven time and time again that when the pressure is at its highest, she is at her fastest. Though she will face a quartet of formidable opponents in Tori Bowie, Murielle Ahoure, Blessing Okagbare and English Gardner - who have all run 10.81 or faster this year - none of them can produce their best when it matters, as the "pocket rocket" from Kingston can.

Verdict: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

200m: Schippers to strike gold

Schippers_Dafne200FH-Euros14.jpgDafne Schippers, photo by

With world leader Allyson Felix opting for the 400m and reigning world champion Fraser-Pryce focusing on the 100m, the door is wide open for someone to step forward and make a name for themselves on the global stage. Former heptathlete Dafne Schippers, who has turned her attention to the sprints with great effect this year, can be that athlete.

The Dutch 23-year-old will also race the 100m in Beijing, though it is over 200m - the event in which she scorched to a national record of 22.03 to win the European title last summer - where she holds the better chance at gold. American Candyce McGrone edged Schippers over 200m in Monaco last month, and also holds a major chance, while Jamaica's Elaine Thompson smashed her personal best to run 22.10 for the win in London last month, and may well start favourite in what is an open contest.

Verdict: Dafne Schippers

400m: Felix's singular focus

Asher-Felix-TarmohFH-Birmingham15.JPGAsher-Smith, Felix, Tarmoh battle over 200 meters, Birmingham DL, photo by

For many years, Allyson Felix has threatened to step up in distance and dominate the 400m the same way she has the 200m, but things have not exactly gone to plan, with Felix's only major medal at the distance a silver at the 2011 World Championships. Many were surprised when Felix announced in recent weeks that she would contest only the 400m in Beijing - an event in which she is ranked fourth in the world this year - instead of the 200m, where she is world leader. However, the decision shows just how much Felix wants to master the event ahead of next year's Olympic Games, where she wants to double.

Two of the athletes faster than her this year - Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross - will not be in the 400m line-up, with both athletes failing to make the grade in the cutthroat first-past-the-post US trials system. Therefore Felix's biggest threat is likely to come from Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas. The 21-year-old has been one of the breakout stars of the summer and dipped below the 50-second barrier when winning in Lausanne in 49.92 last month. Felix, though, at 29, has buckets more experience than the Bahamian, and that may give her the edge when push comes to shove next week.

Verdict: Allyson Felix

800m: Eunice to take Sum stopping

Sum_EuniceFHL-Paris15.JPGEunice Sum wins London DL, photo by

With American Ajee' Wilson out through injury, the path is clear for Kenya's Eunice Sum to retain the world title she won so surprisingly two years ago in Moscow. This time, it will come as a massive shock if Sum is not crowned champion, such has been her superiority over the rest of the world this year. The 26-year-old is six from six over 800m this summer, her best effort coming at the Paris Diamond League where she ran a personal best of 1:56.99.

Behind her that night was Rose Almanza, who ran a big personal best of 1:57.70, but the 23-year-old Cuban has been out of sorts ever since and was well beaten on her most recent outing in Stockholm. US champion Alysia Montano will also rank as a major threat.

The dark horse, though, is Caster Semenya, who ran 2:00.72 in Linz last week. We all know what the 24-year-old South African is capable of at her best - in short, she cannot be beaten - and there will be many nervous officials looking on with a sense of dread if she can get back there once again next week.

Verdict: Eunice Sum

1500m: Dibaba the destroyer


Genzebe Dibaba, quite simply, looks unstoppable in her bid to become world champion for the first time. However, championship 1500m races have a funny habit of tearing the form book to shreds, and Dibaba's outdoor championship record is relatively appalling for an athlete of her calibre - she has finished eighth at the last three world outdoor championships - but surely, she can't not win this, with a six-second cushion of superiority over her closest challenger, Sifan Hassan?

Dibaba, 24, has proven herself capable of performing in a championship setting, having won two gold medals at the World Indoor Championships, but this will be her greatest test to date. If she passes it, if she defeats Hassan, Ethiopian teammate Dawit Seyaum, Americans Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury, then she will enter the conversation for the best female 1500m runner of all time. Barring illness or injury, this looks a formality.

Verdict: Genzebe Dibaba

3,000m steeplechase: Ghribi and Coburn versus the East Africans

Ghribi_Habiba-Stockholm14.JPGHabiba Ghribi, photo by

At most major championships, it's pretty easy to pick the winner of the women's steeplechase. This, however, is not one of those years, with at least half a dozen athletes holding a chance. Perhaps it's best to start with Habiba Ghribi. The Tunisian races very sparingly, but when she does it tends to be to good effect. Her sole steeplechase this year came in Monaco, where she set the world-leading time of 9:11.28.

Ghribi was an Olympic silver medallist in 2011 and a world silver medallist in 2011; can this be the year she emerges from the shadows and finally strikes gold? Quite possibly, but she will have to outjump and outrun a horde of quality east Africans, most notably Virginia Nyambura and Hyvin Jepkemoi of Kenya, Hiwot Ayalew and Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia, and Emma Coburn of the United States. Coburn, 24, has progressed well in the past two years but has yet to manage a major international medal. She'll rarely get a better chance than this.

Verdict: Habiba Ghribi

5000m: Double for Dibaba?

Ayana-Dibaba1-Paris15.JPGAyana versus Dibaba, photo by

After the 1500m final on the fourth day of competition, Genzebe Dibaba will have a day off before getting her 5,000m campaign under way, and with three a half days between the heat and final to recover, she should take some stopping in her pursuit of a rare middle distance double.

Her Ethiopian teammate Almaz Ayana leads the world rankings with her 14:14.32 run in Shanghai back in May, but when the pair clashed at the Paris Diamond League in July, Dibaba proved much the stronger, nestling behind Ayana until the bell and then putting six seconds into her over the final lap. The Kenyan challenge will be led by 2013 world silver medallist Mercy Cherono and Viola Kibiwott, but realistically, neither should be within shouting distance of the Ethiopian pair come the business end of the race.

Verdict: Genzebe Dibaba

10,000m: Cheruiyot a likely champion once again

Cheruiyot_Vivian1-Pre15.JPGVivian Cheruiyot, photo by

This race has historically been the domain of Ethiopia, and specifically Tirunesh Dibaba, but that looks set to change this year with a powerful Kenyan trio heading up the entries, led by former world champion Vivian Cheruiyot.

Having returned from pregnancy, the 31-year-old Cheruiyot looked to be getting back to her best when winning the Kenyan trials last month, outsprinting Betsy Saina, who will join Cheruiyot in Beijing. Their third entrant, Sally Kipyego, finished second to Dibaba in the Olympics in 2012 and though she has yet to race over 10,000m this year, she showed decent form when finishing fourth over 5,000m in the Eugene Diamond League.

The Ethiopian quartet is led by former 1500m runner Gelete Burka, who has slowly moved up in distance in recent years and currently holds the world-leading time for 10,000m courtesy of her 30:49.68 win at the Ethiopian trials race in Hengelo. Her closing speed will be feared by all.

Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle head the American challenge, and both will feel capable of a top-six finish. Flanagan, of course, is an Olympic bronze medallist at this distance and has been in good form already this year with a 31:09.02 run in Stanford. Huddle, meanwhile, has been in sparkling form, setting an American record for 5K on the roads in April and going on to take the US 10,000m title ahead of Flanagan in June. She looks the one most likely to break the African dominance.

Verdict: Vivian Cheruiyot

100m hurdles: American domination

Harper-Nelvis-Stowers-PorterFHH-Lausanne15.jpgHarper, Nelvis, Stowers, Porter, Lausanne 2015, photo by

The US holds all the aces here and it will come as a major shock if one of their four entrants - Dawn Harper Nelson, Kendra Harrison, Sharika Nelvis and Brianna Rollins - don't take the gold medal. Of the four, former Olympic champion Harper-Nelson is by far the most experienced and indeed consistent, and proved once again she can get it right when it matters by winning the US trials in 12.55 back in June.

Nelvis, though, has run considerably quicker this year - her 12.34 in the heats of the US trials tops the world rankings - but this will be the recent NCAA graduate's first major international championship. If one of the Americans don't win, then it will probably be an American-turned-Briton who takes the title. Tiffany Porter and her younger sister Cindy Ofili have both switched their allegiances across the Atlantic in recent years and, having run 12.56 and 12.60 respectively this year, both are serious medal threats in what is one of the most open races of the week.

Verdict: Dawn Harper-Nelson

400m hurdles: Hejnova holds the edge in tight race

Hejnova_Zuzana1-London13.JPGZuzana Hejnova, photo by

After a below-par 2014, Zuzana Hejnova is back in form and looks ready to defend her world title. The 28-year-old looked as good as ever when running 53.76 at the Paris Diamond League in July and the Czech star has since backed that up with wins in London and Stockholm.

Hejnova, though, will have things much harder than she did in 2013 - when she won gold by 1.26 seconds with a national record of 52.83 - with American trio Kori Carter, Shamier Little and Cassandra Tate in opposition. Of those, 20-year-old Little - who heads the world rankings after her 53.74 win at the NCAA Championships in June - looks to pose the biggest threat.

Of the others, Jamaica's Kaliese Spencer (who has run 54.15 this year), Bahrain's Kemi Adekoya (54.12 this season) and Denmark's Sara Peterson (who ran a national record of 53.99 behind Hejnova in Paris) look the main contenders.

Verdict: Zuzana Hejnova

Leave a comment

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Subscribe to RunBlogRun's Global News Feed

* indicates required