With the World Championships only four days away, everyone is looking to see who will step up and perform above and beyond expectations. As the Great Britain squad now fly out to Beijing, all are now fully prepared to compete to the highest level after their training camp in Japan. Subsequently, I have picked out five athletes who I see to have real chances at stepping up and competing with the best athletes in the world. Other than Laura Muir, all of these athletes will be competing at the World Championships for the first time and will all gain invaluable experiences.
Charlie Grice: 1500m
Heats, 2:35, 27th August
Semi Finals, 11:55, 28th August
Final, 11:45, 30th August
Over the last couple of years Charlie Grice has definitely cemented is place as one of the countries best middle distance runners. In both the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Grice has won the national championships over 1500m and reduced his PB down to 3:35.29 over the same distance along the way.
Whilst having great times to his name, Grice’s biggest asset is his ability to finish strongly over the final stages, competing for the win in every race. This is certainly an impressive and essential attribute to hold in championship races, in which Grice has also proved himself capable of handling. This year alone, he has shown to be able to deal with the rounds, winning the U23 National Championships 800m title, along with the Senior 1500m title.
As well as this competent racing on a domestic level, Grice has stepped up to the international stage too. Last year he competed alongside the best, making both the European and Commonwealth Games finals over 1500m; despite falling in the European Championships, he showed great competitiveness in a vey fast finishing Commonwealth final.
Since these last two championship outings, I think Charlie Grice has definitely grown into a brilliant championship racer. With this being his first World Championships, his main goal will to be making the final which I certainly feel he is capable of. Not only do I think he is able of this, I also believe that the speed he showed at the Anniversary Games, competing with the likes of Matt Centrowitz and Abel Kiprop, shows he could potentially even sneak a medal.
Kyle Langford: 800m
Heats, 3:50, 22nd August
Semi Finals, 12:15, 23rd August
Final, 12:55, 25th August
A lot has been said in recent weeks about this young 19 year old talent, Kyle Langford. Having only started running properly in the last four years, he has come to be one of the best junior 800m runners Britain has ever seen, running 1:45.78 at the Anniversary Games. As with Grice, Langford has also shown that he is a championship racer, winning 8/8 championship races he has competed in this year, being crowned British Junior and Senior Champion along with European Junior Champion!
Kyle is one of the youngest members of the World Championship team but certainly isn’t phased by the whole experience, with his coach George Harrison of Shaftesbury Barnet saying “I would be very surprised if he doesn’t make the semi. I wouldn’t like to say he could make the final. Just for the experience alone would be the best thing for him,” he speaking to Athletics Weekly.
Langford wins gold by the slightest of margins in the Men’s 800m Final, with Tolokonnikov & Borkowski just behind. http://t.co/KxH5s9Cn73
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) July 19, 2015
I personally think making the final will definitely be his aim and certainly not out of each. To do this, I do believe he will have to run faster than he has previously, eclipsing David Sharpe’s 800m Junior record of 1:45.64; and this is al within his capability. Again, very much like Grice, he has the ability to kick over the closing stages, putting himself in contention for a top three position in every race he competes in, so don’t be surprised to see Langford emulate the great feats of Steve Ovett and Seb Coe over this famous distance!
Dina Asher-Smith: 200m
Heats, 11:15, 26th August
Semi Finals, 11:10, 27th August
Final, 13:00, 28th August
Despite being the national record holder over 100m, running a time of 10.99 at the Anniversary Games, Dina Asher-Smith will be competing over the 200m at the World Championships, saying this has been her aim for the season.
Over this year, she has competed more heavily over the shorter 100m distance, however her performances over 200m have been just as strong. At the Birmingham Diamond League she was right up there competing with the likes of Allyson Felix, running a PB of 22.30. This is a time I definitely feel that she can improve on after running under 11 seconds in the 100m showing she has the raw speed to be converted over the 200m. If she gets it right on the day, I feel like she can dramatically improve her best down close to 22 seconds, looking to better the British Record of 22.10.
These are the sort of times that I feel she can run and will need to be running to be completive this year as she is only ranked as 13rd in the world this year over 200m by All-Athletics.com. Saying this, I believe she will really show her young talent (remember she is still only 19) and look to make the final, competing with the best in the world!
Zharnel Hughes: 200m
Heats, 11:30, 25th August
Semi Finals, 12:30, 26th August
Final, 12:55, 27th August
There has been much controversy over the changes of alliance by the Anguilla-born athlete Zharnel Hughes who is now eligible to run for Britain. This change is all on correct grounds and has been granted permission to run for Great Britain, despite being seen as a ‘plastic Brit’ by many.
Although there has been some criticism, Hughes is without a doubt a brilliant athlete who we should be delighted to have competing for Great Britain. This year he has run 20.05 (into a strong headwind) along with becoming British Champion too. This time places him at 15th in the world this year, however many of those above him won’t be competing over this event at the Wold Championships.
When considering how Hughes will perform at the championships, it must be in conjunction with his previous performances against his main rivals. So far he has been a dominant feature in all his international races, competing very encouragingly alongside Usain Bolt over 200m at the New York Diamond League, as well as winning the Diamond League event at the Anniversary Games where he beat runners who have run under 20.00 this year. This competitiveness shows that when it comes to the races he is in with a real chance. Hopefully Hughes can make the final and see how long he can hang onto the likes of Bolt.
Laura Muir: 1500m
Heats, 3:15, 22nd August
Semi Finals, 12:45, 23rd August
Final, 12:35, 25th August
Finally, we have the young U23 talent of Laura Muir in the 1500m. This event on the women’s side is one of upmost interest this year with Genzebe Dibaba breaking the world record in the Monaco Diamond League when she ran 3:50.07, showing the world that the indoor form she has shown over the last couple of years can certainly be translated onto the outdoor track circuit.
In the very same race where the world record was broken, Muir was trailing – at what seemed to be a large amount given the quality of Dibaba’s run – but also running an equally phenomenal race. She would run a massive lifetime best of 3:58.66 for 5th and was also not too far off Kelly Holmes’ national record of 3:57.90. Although there were four women faster on the night, Muir had already proved she has what it takes to beat the worlds best when she won the Oslo Diamond League, running at the front from start to finish.
From all of her races this year she has shown everyone that she has brilliant strength which will be a major factor over what I’m sure to be a very fast final lap. If Dibaba does line up for the 1500m as she is now said to be doing, then I see no way how she can be beaten, even by Sifan Hassan who has run 3:56 twice this year. Hassan however does have a history of going out too hard so this could be a possibility for Muir to take advantage in the closing stages as with using her pace alongside the two fast Americans Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson.