A PAIR of high profile farewells and an Aussie vying for gold is set to be on the cards during an highlights-packed day of athletics action.
Usain Bolt will run his final race, Mo Farah will take part in his final championship, and Australia’s Sally Pearson will go for gold in the women’s 100 Metre Hurdles.
Bolt and Justin Gatlin will meet in a final duel on the track after helping their teams qualify for the final of the 4×100-meter relay at the world championships.
The United States, with Gatlin running the second leg, won the first heat in a world leading time of 37.70 seconds. The Americans beat Britain and Japan, who also qualified.
Then came Bolt, and the Jamaicans needed him. Trailing when he got the baton on the anchor leg, Bolt powered away and quickly swept past his rivals and had time to look to his right before crossing in 37.95 seconds.
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PEARSON AIMS FOR SECOND WORLD TITLE
Australian hurdling great Pearson could well add a second world title to her trophy cabinet and banish memories of two years of injury hell.
The 30-year-old posted the fastest time in the semi-finals in stark contrast to the 1/6 on favourite world record-holder Kendra Harrison who squeezed into the final as the second and last fastest loser.
Her weakness was seen as being lack of experience in major championships and Pearson has buckets of it including an Olympic gold in the same stadium in 2012.
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Pearson blitzes heat0:55
Athletics: Golden girl, Sally Pearson has qualified fastest for the final in the 100m hurdles
BOLT AND FARAH BIG ADIEU
Farah bids adieu to the track in terms of championships and will hope to add a fourth successive world crown in the event to his impressive tally of titles which if successful will also see him complete a fifth global double in the 5 and 10k (two Olympics and three world championships).
He looked well in control in his semi-final but there are threats primarily perhaps from 17-year-old Ethiopian Selemon Barega, who may be the youngest ever finalist but showed in his semi-final he has a mature head on his shoulders. If he wins he will be the first athlete to have swept the event at youth, junior and senior level.
The second of the big farewells takes place as Usain Bolt looks to lead his Jamaica team to a final golden moment and gain some consolation for his bronze in the 100m individual final.
Their historic rivals the United States, led by his 100m conqueror Justin Gatlin and silver medallist Christian Coleman, look primed to ruin the script again. However, baton changes are of prime importance and organisers will be praying the Jamaicans who run the heat don’t foul it up for Bolt.
The women’s relay should also be a Jamaica v USA showdown — though both of their stars have had problems: Olympic champion Elaine Thompson has been sick whilst 100m world champion Tori Bowie injured herself in winning gold.
Nasty fall during the hurdles0:35
Athletics: Deborah John has suffered this ugly fall in the heats of the 100m hurdles.
The men’s javelin final event is one of the most loaded of the world championships. Germans Johannes Vetter and Thomas Rohler, the Olympic champion, have engaged in a thrilling duel all season.
Vetter last month leapfrogged Rohler to go into second place on the world all-time list, with a throw of 94.44m in Lucerne. Defending champion Julius Yego of Kenya, with a season’s best of 87.97m, Czech Jakub Vadlejch (88.02), Finn Tero Pitkamaki (88.27) and Greek Ionnis Kiriazis (88.01m) are sure to be in the mix for the medals.
The Women’s high jump final is perhaps the best chance for a Russian athlete competing as a neutral to win an event: since winning the world title in Beijing two years ago, Maria Lasitskene has won 33 of her 36 competitions indoors and outdoors and arrives in London on a run of 24 competition wins.
Lasitskene is the only jumper to surpass the two-metre barrier outdoors this summer – a feat which she has achieved 11 times, as well as twice during the indoor season. The only other jumper to clear the two-metre mark this season is Lithuania’s Airine Palsyte, who did so twice indoors.
Olympic champion Ruth Beitia of Spain, at the age of 37, will aim to put a raft of injury problems behind her in a podium push.
SCHEDULE (All times are AEST)
7pm (Friday, AEST): Men’s 110 Metres Hurdles — Decathlon
7:35pm: Women’s 4×100 Metres Relay — Heats
7:55pm: Men’s 4×100 Metres Relay — Heats (Featuring Usain Bolt)
8:00pm: Men’s Discus Throw — Decathlon Group A
8:20pm: Women’s 4×400 Metres Relay — Heats
8:50pm: Men’s 4×400 Metres Relay — Heats
9:20pm: Men’s Discus Throw — Decathlon Group B
10:05pm: Men’s Pole Vault — Decathlon Group A
11:15pm: Men’s Pole Vault — Decathlon Group B
2:30am (Saturday, AEST): Men’s Javelin Throw — Decathlon Group A
3:55am: Men’s Javelin Throw — Decathlon Group B
4:05am: Women’s High Jump — Final
5:05am: Women’s 100 Metres Hurdles — Final (Featuring Australia’s Sally Pearson)
5:15am: Men’s Javelin Throw — Final
5:20am: Men’s 5000 Metres — Final
5:45am: Men’s 1500 Metres — Decathlon
6:30am: Women’s 4×100 Metres Relay — Final
6:50am: Men’s 4×100 Metres Relay — Final (Featuring Usain Bolt)
Originally published as Live: Bolt’s final run, Pearson eyes gold