Ten big names who will be missing in Doha championships

Monday, September 23rd, 2019 00:00 |
Usain Bolt (Jamaica).

1. David Rudisha (Kenya)

A two-time Olympic and World 800m champion, David Rudisha is also the world record holder but he will not be in Doha to add onto his glittering medal collection.

Injuries, poor form and marital issues have seen Rudisha fail to make any appearance on the track since 2017, robbing Kenya a guaranteed gold at the Worlds.

In his absence, Ferguson Rotich, Kipngetich Ngeno and Emmanuel Korir are the men tasked with leading Kenya’s onslaught in 800m in Doha.

2. Usain Bolt (Jamaica)

A showman, athletics and the world will indeed miss Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter has been the biggest attraction at the World Championships and Olympics since 2008 when he broke two world records (100m and 200m) but he retired two years ago after a disappointing bronze medal in London.

Bolt set the bar so high in sprints and his burst of pace coupled with trademark celebration was a constant feature whenever he was on the track.

A new breed of sprinters have sprung up since Bolt hung his spikes and Americans Christian Coleman and defending champion Justin Gatlin look to be the men to beat in Doha.

3. Mo Farah (Great Britain)

The man largely responsible for Kenya’s drought in 5,000m and 10,000m at the Worlds and Olympics since 2011, many will be happy that the Somali-born Briton is no longer on the track.

Farah switched to road races (half and full marathons) after the 2017 Worlds, having won six gold medals at World Championships and four at the Olympics and in his absence, a number of runners have been trying to fill the void.

Ugandan Joshua Chepetegei and Ethiopian trio Selemon Barega, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha are among the athletes Kenyans will have to stop if they have to end their 14-year 5,000m gold drought.

4. Ruth Jebet (Bahrain)

Locked out of Doha due to doping, Ruth Jebet was suspended in February 2018 for testing positive for EPO.

The Kenyan-born Bahraini had been on an upward trajectory after winning an Olympics gold in 3,000m steeplechase in 2016 before smashing the world record a few days later at the Paris Diamond League.

In her absence, Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, who lowered her world record in Monaco last year, appears the favourite in Doha alongside world champion Emman Coburn of USA.

5. Caster Semenya (South Africa)

The biggest casualty of IAAF’s new testosterone rules, Semenya would have loved to be in Doha but was locked out after the World governing body decided that women with higher than normal hormone levels to artificially lower it if they are to compete in races over distances of 400m to the mile.

The two-time Olympic 800m champion, who took bronze in her world 1,500m debut in 2017, will be out alongside Kenya’s Margaret Nyairera and Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, opening the door for world bronze medalist American Aje Wilson. 

6. Sally Pearson (Australia)

Australia’s greatest modern-day track and field athlete Sally Pearson retired last month after injuries took a toll on her.

The 32-year-old, who won gold in the 100m hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics and is a two-time world champion, had hoped to end her career in spectacular style next year at the Tokyo Olympics, only for her body to let her down once again.

Pearson missed the 2015 world championships and 2016 Rio Olympics due to injury before making one of Australian sport’s great comebacks in 2017 when she coached herself to gold at the Worlds in London.

7. Elijah Manangoi (Kenya)

There will be a new 1,500m winner in Doha after defending champion Elijah Manangoi pulled out last week, citing an ankle injury.

Manangoi had earned a wild card to Doha by virtue of being the defending champion but his withdrawal now opens the door for stable-mate Timothy Cheruiyot although Norwegian brothers Henrik Ingebrigtsen and Jakob Ingebrigtsen pose the greatest threat.

Ronald Kwemoi and George Manangoi are the other athletes in Kenya’s 1,500m team.

8. Asbel Kiprop (Kenya)

The three-time world champion was the undisputed 1,500 king between 2008 and 2015 and also won an Olympics gold in 2008.

The lanky athlete also has medals in African Games and Cross-Country but his hopes of adding more in this year’s World Championships were dashed in May  2018 when it was first reported he had tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance EPO in November 2017 and handed a four-year ban in April 2019.

9. Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia)

The 1,500m world record holder will miss the World Championships due to a right foot injury. The Ethiopian lowered the 1,500m world record to 3:50.07 in 2015, then won the world title a month later.

Kenyan Faith Kipyegon relegated her to silver at the Rio Olympics. Dibaba was last in the 12-woman final at the 2017 Worlds, then withdrew from the 5,000m at that meet, citing illness.

Her absence should make Kipyegon’s defence of her title a little easier but Americans Shelby Houlihan and Jenny Simpson are also rubbing their hands with glee. Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan is also a favourite. 

10. Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa)

Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk will not defend his world 400m title in Doha after suffering an injury.

The world-record holder has been sidelined from competition for two years since tearing a meniscus and ACL in a celebrity tag rugby match.

He returned to competition in February but had suffered a “minor setback” in his recovery.

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