The world athletics championships commence at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park Friday evening at 19:00 RSA time with the opening ceremony.

Then the competition begins in earnest, with the preliminary rounds of the event that is set to be considered as the flagship of the next 10 days – the 100m, and start of the end of an era dominated by Usain Bolt.

With 8 Olympic Gold medals, 11 World championship golds and 6 world records the Jamaican legend is bowing out and he has to a large extent dominated the build up to these championships.

As much as interest has revolved around the question of his ability to secure the 100m gold, the sport is asking who next?
These are questions that will be carved out over the next 10 days of competition, and for South africa the focus and question relates to whether or not the talented team can beat the four stadium medals and world cup marathon bronze that was won in Paris 2003. That has been our greatest success at World Championships since the return to the international arena in 1993.

Friday sees a total of seven South African athletes competing in four events, with an extremely talented long jump trio leading the way at 20:30 RSA time.

Between them Luvo Manyonga, and Ruswahl Samaai have dominated the Long Jump and go into the event ranked as the top two to beat, with Zarck Visser the possibility of pulling something special out the bag. However the first hurdle for all three is to make the qualifying mark to move to Saturday evening’s final.

Although the preliminary rounds of the 100m open the championships, the duo of Akani Simbine and Thando Roto will back into their block at 21:20 with the goal of progressing to the Saturday evening’s semi and final.

Listen to Akani Simbine here:
Share Music – Audio Hosting –

With a spate of sub 10 second performances this season, and the withdrawal of Andre de Grasse, Simbine’s potential to step onto the podium increases. He is fully aware that there is still much to be learnt, but is grateful and benefited from the advice of Bolt and his team.

The Jamaican ran his fastest race of the season in Monaco where he recorded 9.95, his first this year under 10 seconds, but showing that he is hitting form for his final show on the world stage.

Victor ‘the hulk’ Hogan, who was initially denied his selection and was later invited by the IAAF quota system, should be a safe qualifier in the discus qualifier, where he has the advantage of going in the second group and therefore a clear target of the distance required to make the cut.

The final event of the night is the men’s 10,000m where the home crowd will be in blind support of Sir Mo Farah, who like Bolt, will be making his swan song from track and field, and is expected to move up on the road distances to the marathon.

This will be the first of his path towards repeating his 10,000 / 5000m double. Stephen Mokoka has again opted to go for the longest track event at the championships, as opposed to the marathon. The AGN athlete has a seasons best of 29:28.74, but his target will be to use the high quality field to improve on his personal best of 27:40.73.

The London world championships have already set records in the ticket sales and large crowds are expected for both morning and evening sessions.
There have been many changes to the traditional program of previous years including the doubling up of both the mens and women’s marathon on Sunday, and the doubling of the 20k, and 50km for both men and women on the final Sunday of the championships. This move not only means reduced traffic disruption for the host city, but also is expected to attract a greater audience and atmosphere for the runners in these road events.

Friday, 4 Aug
event times (RSA times)

8.30pm: Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai, Zarck Visser – Long Jump Men, qualifying
9.20pm: Akani Simbine, Thando Roto – 100m Men, heats
9.45pm: Victor Hogan – Discus Throw Men, qualifying
10.20pm: Stephen Mokoka – 10 000m Men, final.

Leave a Reply