This is part 2 of Stuart’s preview. Take it in. See how many defenders have huge challenges, and how difficult it is to win 1 title, and 2 is even more difficult. The championships are now hours away.
Being World Champion Part 2
By Sunday next week a new batch of athletes will be able to call themselves “World Champion”. What does it mean to be world champion? Stuart Weir asked a number of 2017 champions that question. He got some interesting answers:
Karsten Warholm – 400m hurdles
“It is done a lot for my career. I have very good opportunities now and people are very interested in what I do, which is also a huge motivation”.
Katerina Stefanidi – Pole vault
“It is something you dream about as a kid and I think for me more than other people because I started so young – I started pole vaulting aged 10. And even before that I was already doing track and field so the idea of being Olympic champion, world champion, European champion was my big goal and my dream from a very early age. Even at 12 years old when I was crossing the road, I would say ‘you need to be careful because if you get hit by a car, how can you be world champion and break the world record?’ But a 12 year old doesn’t think that way. My coach and my parents at the time pushed me that way and that’s probably why I care so much more about gold medals right now it than I do about records. It’s hard to say what it feels like to but I think that gives you an idea of how important it is for me”.
Kori Carter – 400m hurdles
“I don’t really think of myself as world champion. For me, I’m not world champion unless I am 2019 world champion. I try to remain humble. Being world champion doesn’t guarantee things, it just means that you won. You have to go back and ask what put you in a position. Other people are more concerned that I am world champion than I am. So I don’t think a lot has changed for me. Because for me, it’s in the past. I need to keep winning”.
Luvo Manyonga – long jump
“It’s amazing, being labelled as world champ. It gives me so much encouragement that I have to have more self-belief”.
Omar McLeod – 110m hurdles
“It means a lot, just to have that by your name. No matter what, your name is down in the history books as world champion. No one ever take some away from you. But it is something that I don’t take for granted. I have worked very hard for it and I beam with pride and joy when I am introduced as the world champion”.
Ramil Guliyev – 200m
Ramil Guilieyev defends his 200m title from 2017, photo by Getty Images/ IAAF
“For me that is not important, not something different because every competition is new – new experiences, new people, new places we can enjoy. I’m not feeling “I am world champion” I need to compete in a different way. But it says to me ‘everything is possible’. In the past I waited for invitations to races now and I can choose my competitions”.
Sam Kendricks – polevault
“To be a world champion you have to be a champion at many other levels. I was champion of my state, of my university, of America and many other championships besides, before I was truly the world champion. And that is the final title. That and the Olympic championship go hand in hand. In our sport they are equally respectable in my mind. Even more so for a world champion because it is held twice as often [World Championships twice as often as the Olympics]. More athletes are in their prime competing for it. That is truly the peak of track and field. It is our championship”.
Sandra Perkovic – discus
Sandra Perkovic, discus WC, photo by PhotoRun.net
“That means a lot to me because I’m a discus thrower and I am one of the best in the world and I have so many titles but I’m never satisfied and I just want to continue what I’m doing. I have opportunities to spend my life doing what I do best – discus throwing. It’s very nice when you come to the stadium and people recognise you and know you are the best. And you want to show them that you are even better than you were before. So it makes me feel happy”.