adidas Athletes Getting Ready for 13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics
With leading names Tyson Gay and Jeremy Wariner among those to have been forced to the sidelines by injury, 15 other gold medal hopefuls are getting ready for the spotlight.
Jessica Ennis, Great Britain, Heptathlon
London's poster girl for next year's Olympic Games has been the world's preeminent female multi-eventer for the last two years and is anxious to consolidate her supremacy and build on the momentum she has built up since winning the world title in Berlin. Ennis is the form athlete, having won already in 2011 - at the prestigious Gotzis meeting at the end of May. Her winning score there of 6790 points fell just 33 points short of her lifetime best.
Yohan Blake, Jamaica, 100m
The 21-year-old Jamaican burst into 2011 with the fastest season's opener since Usain Bolt in 2008. A following wind of 2.2 metres per second was just in excess of the legal limit but did little to soften the impact of Blake's 9.80sec. His 9.95sec finish in London earlier this month with a strong headwind which spread-eagled a powerful field suggests he is certainly someone to look out for.
Blanka Vlasic, Croatia, High Jump
The 27-year-old from Split has spoken frankly in recent weeks of the pressure she feels after four years at the top of the sport, during which time she has been expected to win every competition she has entered. It will be no different in Daegu when Vlasic will attempt to complete her fifth straight world title – two indoors and three outdoors. In 2011, she has yet to find the level of consistency demonstrated in recent years but Vlasic is renowned as a supreme competitor.
Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jamaica, 100m & 200m
Whenever the double Olympic champion steps onto the track, she carries with her an aura of invincibility. The 200m champion from the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games has yet to win a world title over the longer sprint though she did prevail in the closest ever finish to a women's global 100m final in Osaka.
Dayron Robles, Cuba, 110m Hurdles
It is now three years since he broke the world record and claimed the Olympic title. In between times he has battled with untimely injuries and fluctuations in form. But the 24-year-old is in ominous mood with a season's best of 13.04sec and he is itching to duck inside 13 seconds for the first time since his golden year of 2008.
David Rudisha, Kenya, 800m
The 22-year-old Kenyan is entering a 12-month period that may come to define his career and confirm him as the greatest half-miler ever. In 2010, he broke the world 800m record twice in the space of eight days, achievements which saw him crowned the youngest ever winner of the men's World Athlete of the Year award. Rudisha's new figures for the 800 metres stand at 1min 41.01sec, with Daegu being his biggest test yet.
Brimin Kipruto, Kenya, 3000m Steeplechase
His two-year domination of the steeplechase came to an abrupt halt in Berlin two years ago when he finished seventh. Previous to that, he had won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games making him the seventh straight Kenyan champion at the event but the first to be crowned Olympic gold medallist while also being the world champion. Daegu could well see Kipruto start another phase of supremacy. Last month in Monaco, he fell just 0.01sec short of the world record.
Javier Culson, Puerto Rico, 400m Hurdles
Another adidas athlete, the South African LJ Van Zyl, is the fastest one lap hurdler in the world this year but it is the recent form of the 27-year-old which catches the eye. He has won two Diamond League races this season, in New York and London, and was the silver medallist at these championships two years ago.
Mitchell Watt, Australia, Long Jump
It seems as if after missing most of 2010 due to injury, this 23-year-old former rugby player is making up for lost time and has dominated the event this season with wins in Shanghai, Stockholm and London - recording the four longest jumps in the world in 2011. Two years ago, he surprised almost everyone when he claimed the bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. This time, it might shock no one if he wins gold in Daegu.
Phillips Idowu, Great Britain, Triple Jump
The flamboyant Briton thrives on competition and is a feared rival. His championship record since collecting silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is unblemished, having won the world title in Berlin and the European crown in Barcelona last year. His best this season, 17.59m, is 10 or 20cm short of his 2009 and 2010 form but recent experience suggests Idowu is saving his best for the big day.
Matthias de Zordo, Germany, Javelin
At 23, De Zordo is a young man in a mature athletes' event. Even so, just three men have thrown further than him this season and having demonstrated his maturity in Barcelona last year when he finished second in the European Championships he could be ready to spring a surprise in Daegu.
Sally Pearson, Australia, 100m Hurdles
If medals were awarded for dogged determination then the 24-year-old Aussie would win gold every time. In Daegu, though, she will line up as favourite to be fastest over 10 barriers. The 2008 Olympic silver medallist is not frightened of the championships' bright lights and goes to Korea on top of the world rankings with a best time of 12.48sec set recently in Birmingham. Her consistency is reflected by the fact she's run four of the year's six fastest times.
Yargelis Savigne, Cuba, Triple Jump
She leads the world rankings in 2011 and is seeking to become the first Cuban woman to win three world titles. It will also be a hat-trick after victory four years ago in Osaka and then again in Berlin. Her best jump of the year is 14.99m set at the Paris Diamond League meeting in July. She has reached out to 15 metres or longer in each of the last four seasons.
Valerie Adams, New Zealand, Shot
There have been just 15 throws beyond 20 metres this year and Adams has been responsible for nine of them. With a record of consistency like that she will go into the event as the favourite to complete a hat-trick of titles.
Christina Obergföll, Germany, Javelin
Few athletes will arrive in Korea with a record of consistency that comes close to matching that of the former European record holder who celebrates her 30th birthday in the week running up to the championships. She has reached the podium in three of her last four global championship appearances (including world silvers in 2005 and 2007) and has shown good form already in 2011 with three of the year's six longest throws.
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