Indoor athletics meet preview

The IAAF World Indoor Championships in athletics take place in Poland this weekend with many top names attending.

Victory for Lagat would see him move ahead of Haile Gebrselassie in the World Indoor gold medal list [Getty Images]
Victory for Lagat would see him move ahead of Haile Gebrselassie in the World Indoor gold medal list [Getty Images]

With just two days to go to the start of the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in the Polish city of Sopot, Al Jazeera takes a look at some of the top athletes in action at the ERGO Arena.

In the men’s 60m sprint, the absence of the injured James Dasaolu and Jimmy Vicaut means the emerging young US sprinter Marvin Bracy heads to Sopot bearing the mantle of favourite.

The 20-year-old won the US title at high altitude in 6.48 seconds and boasts a 6.50 seconds personal best at sea level, courtesy his Millrose Games victory.

A re-run of last year’s 2013 IAAF World Championships is a possibility in the men’s 800m, with four of the top five finishers from the Moscow final having been entered.

On that occasion, Nick Symmonds of the US got closest to Mohammed Aman, the prodigious Ethiopian who will be defending the crown he won as a junior in Istanbul in 2012.

Aman will start as clear favourite in Sopot after running an African record of 1:44.52 in Birmingham.

In the 3000m a place in the record books beckons Bernard Lagat.

A fourth gold medal in the event would put the American one victory ahead of Haile Gebrselassie in the all-time annals of the World Indoor Championships.

Eaton clear favourite

Fellow American Ashton Eaton is another clear favourite in the heptathlon.

Eaton’s last three outings in this event have ended in a world record and although there might not be a fourth straight record, it is difficult to believe that someone could beat him.

The 26-year-old comes to Sopot as the reigning Olympic, world and world indoor champion in combined events competitions and the world indoor-record holder with 6645 points from Istanbul two years ago.

In the women’s 60m Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure heads the world list with a swift 7.03 seconds and the 26-year-old boasts no less than five of the top 10 times this season.

However she will need to be wary of Jamaica’s double world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, whose indoor experience is improving with a 7.10 seconds personal best this campaign.

Also look out for Jamaica’s 2010 and 2012 world indoor winner and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, who is competing for the first time since testing positive for a banned diuretic last May.

Australia’s Sally Pearson showed that she is ready to mount a fierce defence of her 60m hurdles crown with a scintillating 7.79 seconds world-leading time in Berlin on Saturday.

The Olympic champion also recorded 12.59 outdoors in Perth last month but US champion Nia Ali and long-jumper turned-hurdler Janay DeLoach Soukup should challenge after running lifetime bests of 7.80 and 7.82 at the US Indoor Championships.

Source: Al Jazeera

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