Sports / Track and field

Ready for an old-style shootout

By Tym Glaser (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-21 08:07

Ready for an old-style shootout

From left: Tyson Gay of the US, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin of the US, who has the season’s four fastest times in the 100m.

Jamaica's 'Pocket Rocket', Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, is as quick as her name is long. The Olympic champion should defend her 100m title, but she can expect strong challenges from compatriot Elaine Thompson, impressive Americans English Gardner and Tori Bowie, Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare and Cote d'Ivoire's Murielle Ahoure.

The 200 is up for grabs and the US-Jamaica hegemony could be broken by the Netherlands' Dafne Schippers due to the voluntary absences of Fraser-Pryce and the woman who would have been a prohibitive favorite, Allyson Felix of the US.

The greatest threats will come from Candyce McGrone of the US and Jamaica's Thompson in what could be a blanket finish.

The sprint relays, per usual, are a toss-up, with the Americans showing a great ability to drop the baton at major meets.

If they carry the stick all the way around the track, the US should hold off defending champ Jamaica in the men's event, and Asia could see a podium finish through a smooth Japan foursome. Britain and Antigua and Barbuda will also be waiting to pounce on any mishaps.

Again, provided there are no mishandlings, Jamaica's phenomenal sprint depth should see it cross the line ahead of the US, while bronze looks like a European battle between Ukraine, the Netherlands and Britain.

On the women's world relay stage, the Bahamas is a perennial contender, with fellow Caribbean country Trinidad and Tobago also a consistent threat.

All of those scenarios are way down the world championships track, however. The pace of the meet will be set on Sunday night when Bolt and Gatlin shoot out of the blocks in the 100m final.

There is little love between the US and Jamaica sprint teams and the winner, be it the guy in red, white and blue or the one wearing green and gold, could set the tone for the rest of the week.

The US will cheer on the man in the proverbial black hat, Gatlin, while most of the rest of the world will be behind the guy wearing the white one.

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