The 2017 IAAF World Championships in London provided 10 days of enthralling and unforgettable athletics competition.
There was more upsets and drama than anyone could predict, emotional farewells for two legends, emergence of new faces, Sally Pearson’s amazing comeback and athletes from the Commonwealth often stealing the show.
Commonwealth athletes who are world champions
Pearson ensured the Australian national anthem was played in London and is one of 12 Commonwealth athletes who won individual world titles. Other women include Caster Semenya (RSA) 800m, Faith Kipyegon (KEN) 1500m and Hellen Obiri (KEN) 5,000m
GC2018 Ambassador Sally Pearson created history, becoming Australia’s most successful athlete at the IAAF world championships - with a collective two gold and one silver
England’s Mo Farah claimed the first men’s individual world title in the 10,000m, sprinting home for the unprecedented win in front of his home crowd. He is sadly concluding his track career but there are plenty of other world and Olympic champions coming to the Gold Coast in 2018.
Other male individual world title holders from London include Wayde van Niekerk (RSA) 400m, Elijah Manangoi (KEN) 1500m, Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) marathon, Omar McLeod (JAM) 110m hurdles, Conseslus Kipruto (KEN) 3000m steeplechase, Luvo Manyonga (RSA) long jump and Tomas Walsh (NZL) shot put.
There were plenty of relay upsets, highlighted by the English men (representing Great Britain in London) taking 4x100m relay gold and Trinidad and Tobago running down the American quartet in the 4x400m relay.
Nation v nation
As expected the US topped the medal tally with 10 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze - 30 in total.
Kenya finished second on the medal tally with 5 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze - 11 in total.
Now known as the emerging force in world athletics, South Africa walked away with 3 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze - 6 in total to claim third position.
Hosts, Great Britain, finished with 2 gold and six medals. They were hoping for more, however finished strongly with their depth showing through in the men’s and women’s relay events. The English will be very strong come GC2018.
Jamaica had a very poor championship, by its standards, Bahamas had a few high profile stumbles and Botswana with Isaac Makwala had a dramatic world championship with illness.
Canada were also without some of their stars, Andre DeGrasse and Derek Drouin. Gold Coast 2018 will provide a great opportunity for these nations and athletes to bounce back on the world stage.
Who wrote this script?
Pearson’s 100m hurdles victory was a fairytale that stayed on script. There were others like Semenya, who lived up to her top billing in the women’s 800m, producing a personal best when it mattered to clinch her second world championship title in the two-lap event.
The fairytale didn’t go to plan for many other household names. The fastest man of all time Usain Bolt rounded out his international sprinting career with a bronze medal in the highly anticipated 100m final and in an event dominated by Jamaica in recent years, Bolt pulled up injured as his nations last runner in the 4x100m final.
Another crowd favourite Mo Farah delivered in the first of his pet events, the 10,000m, however missed out on a golden finish in the 5,000m, having to settle for silver and ultimately bookending a career that included 10 global titles across both distances.
Chasing the double
While Farah missed doing the double again, the schedule at London 2017 was adjusted so that South African Van Niekerk could emulate the legendary Michael Johnson who achieved the 400m/200m double in 1995.
Everything went to plan in the 400m, but in his sixth race in six days he couldn’t hang on in the 200m final with Turkey’s Ramil Gulyev breaking through for the biggest win of his career.
Van Niekerk has indicated he will chase the 200m/100m double at GC2018.
Semenya is also likely to add the 1500m or 400m to her 800m pet event.
GC2018 perfect for redemption
Missing London, through injury, were Kenyan 800m world record holder David Rudisha, Canadian sprint sensation Andre de Grasse, Canadian high jump champion Derek Drouin and England’s former Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford.
They all plan to be back to their best and on the Gold Coast in April 2018.
11 Internationals to get excited about for GC2018
Wayde van Niekerk – World record holder, Olympic champion, World Champion and only missing the Commonwealth title in the 400m. But the South African may chase the 200m/400m double at GC2018.
Faith Kipyegon - The Kenyan 1500m Olympic and Commonwealth champion added the world title in Londond, proving too strong in 4:02.59. The 23-year-old is determined to defend her Commonwealth crown on the Gold Coast.
Caster Semenya – South African Olympic champion took line honours in the women’s 800m final with a personal best of 1:55.16, the eighth fastest run of all time. This gold followed bronze in the 1,500m, an event she rarely runs, making her results even more impressive. She is planning on two events (and 4x400m relay) at GC2018 but not clear which individual events yet.
Omar McLeod – Claiming Jamaica’s only gold medal in London, the 23-year-old Olympic champion was brilliant from start to finish, winning the men’s 110m hurdles title comfortably in 13.04 seconds.
Isaac Makwala – GC2018 will provide the opportunity to make amends for a crazy and disappointing world championship. He missed the 400m final when quarantined with illness, made the 200m final after running a prelim on his own but faded to sixth. And Botswana who were predicted to push for a 4x400m medal didn’t make the final. Watch out for Isaac on the Gold Coast!
Shaunae Miller-Uibo – The 400m Olympic champion looked supreme in the early rounds but stumbled in the final and missed the world crown. The Bahamas star recovered to win bronze in the 200m and will be looking for the double on the Gold Coast.
Luvo Manyonga – The South African improved from his Olympic silver to take the world title in 2017. He was down and out a few years back and now along with countrymen Rushwahl Samaai they are literally leaping their nation into an athletics powerhouse.
Tomas Walsh – The 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist became New Zealand's third ever and first male to win a world championships gold medal. The 25-year-old heaved the 7.26kg shot put 22.03m to be crowned champion.
Elaine Thompson – The Jamaican sprint queen, who won the Olympic 100m and 200m titles, looked set for the 100m world title in London but had a poor final and finished fifth. Look for her and the Jamaican sprinters to return to form on the warmer Gold Coast.
Andre DeGrasse – The Canadian dual Olympic medallist seemed set to ruin the Bolt fairytale in London but injury stopped him from making the start-line. Gold Coast should be the Games where he looks to fill the Bolt void. Competition will be fierce though.
David Rudisha – 800m world record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha was forced to miss London and will be even hungrier for the Gold Coast. He was beaten in an upset in 2014 and wants to make amends in 2018. He’ll be challenged by 19-year-old Kipyegon Bett who won a bronze at the Worlds Championships and has his sights set on his idol.
World Champion Sally Pearson will lead the Australian charge on the track chasing a third Commonwealth title in her hometown. Discus silver medallist Dani Stevens in the field and marathon runners Michael Shelley and Jess Trengove, and walkers Dane Bird-Smith and Jared Tallent on the Gold Coast roads.
It was an emotional world championships with track legends Usain Bolt and Mo Farah hanging up their spikes. The Jamaican in particular has been the best in the world and face of the sport for almost a decade.
However, in what was to be a night of fond farewell to two of the Commonwealth’s greatest ever athletes from major championship competition, Bolt and Farah missed out on golden goodbyes.
Farah was looking to add the 5,000m world title to his 10,000m gold earlier in the championships, but Ethiopian rival Muktar Edris upset the 34-year-olds final track appearance at a world championships, holding off Farah in a sprint finish to cross the finish line in 13:32.79.
Crossing in 13:33.22, Farah’s silver medal will sit alongside his 10 global gold medals over 5000m and 10,000m.
The men’s 4x100m relay was not the send-off anyone expected for Bolt with the world’s fastest man pulling up in the home straight after a suspected hamstring injury. Bolt had anchored Jamaica to gold at the last six major championships but today the team did not finish.
This opened the door for Great Britain, who sent the home crowd into raptures as they held off the US, to take gold in a world leading time of 37.47sec.
Their departure however will open the door for the next league of champions, adding an extra level of anticipation for the athletics competition at GC2018 in less than eight months.
Bolt confirmed in London that he loves coming to Australia so he may be on the Gold Coast as a spectator. To join him, visit our tickets page
Source : gc2018.com