Fans of athletics will miss the iconic Usain Bolt when the World Athletics Championships leaps into action with the men’s long jump event in Doha this Friday.
For almost a decade, Usain Bolt was the face of athletics. Doha would be the first major athletic event since the Jamaican announced his retirement.
Although Bolt is out of the running, the men’s 100m would not be without its drama. Leading the charge would be defending champion Justin Gaitlin. Gaitlin put a damper on Bolt’s farewell at the last championships when he won the gold.
At 37, Gaitlin is not the odds on favourite to clinch the gold this time. The favourite tag this time around goes to fellow American Christian Coleman.
But Gaitlin, who had served two suspensions for doping, is still the most controversial runner in the field.
His personal best of 9.74s in the century dash is the best time set by any sprinter in the field but only managed 9.87s this season.
Coleman with a season best of 9.81s is the runner in form ahead of the championships with Nigerian Divine Oduduru close behind with a season and personal best of 9.86.
Coleman himself is not without any controversies. He was almost banned from making the trip to Doha, having missed three mandatory drug tests in the past twelve months.
However, confusing interpretations of the rules saw the sprinter getting the let off. Despite never having failed a drug test before, Coleman would be sprinting for the prestigious title with the spectre of doubt of his innocence.
Of all the runners in the event only Gaitlin and Coleman have gone below 9.8s in the dash and look set to battle it out to be crowned the world’s fastest.
The 100m heats starts on the first day of the championships.