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2017 IAAF World Track and Field Championships – The Halfway Report
2017 IAAF World Track and Field Championships – The Halfway Report

Today marks the halfway point of the 2017 IAAF World Championships in track and field, currently underway in London, England. Bucket List Events wanted to share a few thoughts about the competition thus far.

Get up, Stand Up

2017 IAAF World Track and Field Championships

We have to give credit where credit is due: Great Britain loves their athletics. They also know their athletics, which has made for a contagious environment. What an incredible home field advantage for Team GB! After some disappointing attendance in Rio, it’s been refreshing to see a nearly full stadium for all sessions, including the morning. We can only imagine the same type of atmosphere when Eugene, Oregon hosts the 2021 World Championships.

 

Mo Farah, Mo Problems

2017 IAAF World Track and Field Championships

Mo on the podium in Rio

The men’s 10,000 meter was a great race to watch with an honest pace throughout. A race this long invites an incredible amount of strategy and tactics, and that was on full display tonight. In the end, Farah just has a kick that no one else can match, much to the delight of the crowd.

We would like to point out that all three American runners ran their personal bests, and Mo Ahmed, who trains with the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, set the Canadian national record.

 

Let me see your Shoulder Lean

2017 IAAF World Track and Field Championships

Our guide Toby with Justin Gatlin

The biggest stories of the World Championships so far have absolutely been the upsets in the 100 meter dash.

In his final race in a championship setting, Usain Bolt suffered his first defeat in a final as USA’s Justin Gatlin took back a world title that he hasn’t held in 12 years! The race was so close that three different men though they had won at the finish line. With a hard close and an epic lean, the former Tennessee Volunteer out leaned fellow Tennessee Volunteer Christian Coleman at the line to claim the gold. Bolt finished third.

In a very similar fashion, the women’s 100m also came down to a photo finish as USA’s Tori Bowie closed like a freight train and out leaned Marie-Josée Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast to take the title. 2016 Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica finished a surprising fifth place after looking unbeatable at 100 meters the past year.

With Bowie and Gatlin’s gold medals, 2017 marks the first time that the United States has held both 100m titles simultaneously since Lauren Williams and Justin Gatlin in 2005, respectively.

 

Bots-wannna, Raise Up!

Every few years there seems to be a new nation that becomes a rising force in the track and field world. Once upon a time, there was a small island nation called Jamaica that had Asafa Powell and only Asafa Powell, on the men’s track circuit. Soon, Asafa had friends named Yohan, Warren, Usain, Omar, and Nesta who could also break 10 seconds in the 100m for Jamaica. Now the Black, Green, and Yellow is a sprint powerhouse that has left many challengers in the dust over the last decade.

In recent years, the world knew about Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, a man who had run some respectable times on the circuit (Like a 19.77 this Summer), but has been nothing more than a finalist. He is now joined in the 2017 IAAF World Championship 400m finals by young countryman Baboloki Thebe, who was a member of the silver medal 4×4 World Junior team that lead until the race’s final meters last Summer in Poland. Botswana has got some serious talent brewing in the long sprints, including World Junior bronze medalist Karabo Sibanda, and should improve on their 5th place finish in the 4×4 in Rio. As the Bahamas has shown, you can go pretty far with a few guys in the low 44s, even Olympic gold medal far. At this time in 2017, we’re going on the record and predict a medal for Botswana in a sprint relay in 2020.

 

SEC Nation

Collegiate track has been a great spring board to the international circuit, and has recently become more of an international affair as talent from all over the world are making their way onto college campuses.

NBC announcer Ato Bolden has been great at sharing where these athletes went to college, and one thing we started to notice is how many of the participants went to school in the Southeastern Conference. Must be the weather…

Here is the list!

Florida

Marquis Dendy (Long Jump), Eric Futch (400m Hurdles), Kerron Clement (400m Hurdles), Christian Taylor (Triple Jump), Will Claye (Triple Jump), Jeff Henderson (Long Jump), TJ Holmes (400m Hurdles), Genevieve LaCaze, University of Florida (Australia, 3000m Steeplechase)

Alabama

Quanasha Burks (Long Jump), Jareem Richards (200m – Trinidad and Tobago), Steven Gayle – (Jamaica – 4×400)

Auburn

Nathon Allen (Jamaica – 400m)

Mississippi State

Erica Bougard (Heptathlon), Brandon McBride (800m – Canada), Marta Freitas (1500m Mexico)

Tennessee

Christian Coleman (100m), Justin Gatlin (100m), Aries Merritt (110m Hurdles), Tianna Bartoletta (Long Jump)

Georgia

Kendall Williams (Heptathlon), Devon Williams (Decathlon), Cejhae Greene (Antigua 100m), Shaunae Miller-Uibo (200m, 400m – Bahamas), Maicel Uibo (Decathlon – Estonia)

Kentucky

Andrew Evans (Discus), Keni Harrison (100m Hurdles), Shakeela Saunders (Long Jump)

LSU

Nethanial Mitchell-Blake (200m – Great Britain), Cassandra Tate (400m Hurdles), Kimberlyn Duncan (200m), Charlene Lipsey (800m), Semoy Hackett (Trinidad and Tobago – 200m), Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Trinidad and Tobago – 100m)

Arkansas

Jarrion Lawson (Long Jump), Sandi Morris (Pole Vault), Andrew Irwin (Pole Vault), Kemar Mowatt (400m Hurdles – Jamaica), Sparkle McKnight (Trinidad and Tobago – 400m Hurdles), Omar McLoud (110m Hurdles, 4X100 – Jamaica)

Mississippi

Raven Saunders (Shot Put), Isiah Young (200m), Ricky Robertson (High Jump), Brittney Reese (Long Jump), Sam Kendricks (Pole Vault)

Texas A&M

Shamier Little (400m Hurdles), Donovan Brazier (800m), Fred Kerley (400m), Ameer Webb (200m), Lindon Victor (Decathlon – Grenada), Shavez Hart – (Bahamas – 4×100), Aaliyah Brown – (4×100)

 

You’ve Gotta have Faith, Faith, Faith

The team at NBC made sure to build up the women’s 1500 final, and it didn’t disappoint. The race featured the defending Olympic champion (Faith Kipyegon of Kenya), an Olympic champion that has been unbeatable in the 800 (Caster Semenya of South Africa), the 2014 Diamond League champion (Jenny Simpson of the United States), the world record holder (Genzebe Dibaba), the European record holder running in front of her home crowd (Laura Muir), and an up and comer who hasn’t lost a race this year (Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands).

The highly tactical race featured a torrid final 600m that was going to push the runners to have to gut it out if they were to be on the podium. In the end, Kipyegon overtook first place from Hassan with 100 meters to go and held on for the win as Simpson and Semenya used a hard charges to pass Muir and Hassan at the finish line. The action over the last 30 meters was incredible, and first and fifth place was only separated by .8 tenths of a second.