Women’s Distance Running
Canadian Gabriela DeBues-Stafford is ranked fourth in the world in the women’s 1,500m. Having medalled in four of her last five events, Debues-Stafford has a good shot at ending her season on top of the podium.
Since 1997, only Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes have won the Women’s 10,000m, and this year, they will likely stay dominant. While the two favourites are Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and Agnes Jebet Tirop, Ethiopian rising star Letesenbet Gidey may shock everyone to bring home the gold. Canadians should also keep an eye on veteran Natasha Wodak–having just set a Canadian and Pan American Games’ record this summer, she has a chance to crack the top 12.
Men’s Distance Running
While track and field is usually headlined by the 100m and 200m runners, the Men’s 1,500m is a must-watch this year. Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot is the clear favourite; he will be looking to come back from a second-place finish at the previous championships. Cheruiyot’s time is over one-and-a-half seconds faster than the rest of the competition, but a mere half second is all that separates the next six runners. Norweigian brothers Jakob and Filip Ingebritsen, who ranked second and fourth respectively, have both won major competitions and could stop Cheruiyot’s quest for redemption.
Although Bahrain’s 21-year-old Salwa Eid Naser only had the second-fastest qualifying time in the women’s 400m sprint at 49.17, she will be the one to beat: She has been at the top of the rankings for the past 37 weeks and holds the Bahrain national record at 49.08 seconds.
Canadians will be cheering for 21-year-old Kyra Constantine of Toronto, who had the 18th-best qualifying time with 51.22. Constantine is ranked 21st in the world and first in Canada.
Canada’s chances in men’s sprinting look bright, with sprinters Aaron Brown and Andre De Grasse expected to breeze through qualification. De Grasse was Canada’s sweet surprise at the Rio 2016 Olympics, securing bronze in the 100m. After running a season-best of 9.97 seconds this month, De Grasse will be looking to win his first IAAF medal after missing the 2017 edition due to an injury.
Brown will also be a contender: He recorded a personal best 9.96 seconds to upset De Grasse and clinch gold at the Canadian Track and Field championships last July. These two may well end up sharing the podium in Doha.
Women’s Field Events
The IAAF women’s field events will boast some exciting match-ups, particularly in women’s pole vaulting. Reigning world champion, Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, hit only the fifth-best overall height of the season, but is still considered a favourite for gold. Currently ranked third overall, Canada’s Alysha Newman vaulted the sixth-best overall height of the season; however, she recently set the Canadian indoor record for pole vault, putting her in contention for a medal. The height to beat this season, 4.91 metres, was set by American Jennifer Suhr, another likely contender for gold.
Men’s Field Events
The clear favourite for men’s shot put coming into the IAAF Championships is New Zealander Tomas Walsh, whose ranking hasn’t fallen below the top three since the 2016 World Indoor Championship where he won a gold medal. He will, however, be challenged by Brazilian Darlan Romani and American Ryan Crouser, who have both won Olympic gold. With the competition at such a high level and a plethora of newcomers, shot put is likely to be an exciting event with a riveting outcome.