By Noel "Bravo" Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.Com
The stage is now set for one of the greatest World Championships this summer. The 15th edition of the IAAF World Championship takes centre stage in Beijing, China from August 22nd – 30th, 2015 with a host of returning, aging and emerging stars queuing up to leave their stamp on the athletics showpiece. In this preview, we will take a look at five youngsters who are expected to perform at a very high level at the championship.
Wayde Van Niekerk
This talented South African athlete joined an elite club this year when he became only the fourth man in history to run below 20 seconds in the 200m and 44 seconds over 400m. The South African record holder over both distances will be focusing on the 400m in Beijing where he is expected to lock horns with Olympic Champion Kirani James and World Champion LaShawn Merritt alongside a talented cast of quarter-milers making the one-lap event one of the most anticipated events at the championship. The marketing student from Blomfontein University is unbeaten this season, more importantly he has defeated the only other two men this season to have gone sub-44 seconds (Kirani James & Isaac Makwala) after those feats. Niekerk is known for his burst of speed over the final 150m, it will be interesting to see if the same tactic is employed in Beijing.
Pedro Pablo Pichardo
This 22 year-old Cuban is having a dream season in the triple jump and has so far leapt into the record books with his 18.08m victory in May making him the third best all-time triple jumper in history. He has been engaged in some soaring clashes with Olympic champion Christian Taylor this season in the sand pit. Both men are exciting in their own way and usually bring out the best in each other. Fans should be treated to another fantastic duel.
Andre De Grasse
Canada has produced famous sprinters over the years with Donovan Bailey being the most celebrated of all after winning the 1996 Olympic 100m crown. Nineteen years later a real contender has emerged raising expectations for the maple leaf supporters. Andre De Grasse, a confident 21 year-old has been having an outstanding season, first winning a dream sprint double at the NCAA Division One Championships and then capturing the 100m title at the Pan American Games in front of his home crowd in Canada. So far, De Grasse has done everything that has been asked of him. In Beijing, everyone will witness if he can stand up to the challenge of his latest and greatest assignment. He will compete in the men’s 100m alongside some of the greatest sprinters in athletics history; he cannot afford to blink.
Twenty year old Shamier Little comes into her first major championship as the 400m hurdles world leader (53.74) and a serious contender for a podium finish. After winning the 2015 women’s 400m hurdles NCAA title; Little who is also the 2014 World Junior Champion showed that she is the real deal when she won the 2015 US Trials and the Pan American Games 400m hurdles title in Toronto, Canada. In Beijing, Little will be hoping to come big when it matters most.
Elaine Thompson is poised to become Jamaica’s next women’s sprint sensation. Her name has generated many heated discussions because of her tremendous form this season over 100m and 200m. Thompson will compete in Beijing in the 200m, an event that she has not lost this season. She is focused and determined to strike gold for Jamaica at her first major championship. Only three women in the last decade have broken 22 seconds in the 200m (Felix, Campbell-Brown & Kerron Stewart) a lot of persons are convinced that Thompson will soon join that club. Thompson will not be counting her chickens before they hatch in the Bird’s Nest, however, she will certainly ensure that the golden egg is safely secured.
About the Author:
Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis is a very exciting and creative freelance sports writer from Jamaica specializing in the fields of athletics and cricket. His colourful down to earth yet professional personality makes him a favourite amongst athletes and fans. Readers are often exposed to his detailed knowledge and passion which usually increase their interest in the athletes, events and the sport overall. He has a first degree in Banking & Finance and works in the financial industry. Contact Noel at [email protected]