Athletics’ favourite twins are back with a lowdown of what you can expect to see this year…
Mo v The Clock
Over the past three seasons Mo Farah has proved himself to be the best distance runner in the world, but he doesn’t have the times to match. He understandably spent 2012 concentrating on racing but ended the year ranked 11th over 5km and 38th over 10km, all time he’s 30th over 5km and 15th over 10km. While medals will always be more important, if wants to be compared to the best in history he needs to focus on times in 2013.
Home Sweet Home for RUS
It may not be wholly deserved but there is a widespread perception that Russian athletes always leave their best form at the national championships. With the world champs being in Moscow this year, Russian athletes will have home advantage and we should expect some eye-opening performances.
Ms Vlasic was out of sorts in 2011 and out all together in 2012 through injury. Hopefully 2013 will see this most charismatic of athletes back to her best as she and Anna Chicherova, the Olympic champion, can push each other back towards Hall of Fame inductee Stefka Kostandinova’s legendary world record.
With the baby Dibaba joining her sisters in the ranks of the world’s best last year, the Fabulous Dibaba Sisters became the most talented family in track history (not forgetting cousin Deratu Tulu and Tirunesh’s husband Sileshi Sihine).
She may have been hobbled by injury in London but Genzebe won the world 1500m indoor title and ran 3.57 outdoors in 2012, Tirunesh was almost back to her unbeatable best after winning Olympic 10,000m gold and Ejegayehu’s 2.22 marathon debut in 2011 showed her promise over that distance. There will be tough competition not least from their own countrywomen but what money on a Dibaba sweep from 1500m to marathon in Moscow?
David Rudisha v The Teens
He’s Olympic champion, WR holder and Track and Field News’ AOY (for the 3rd year running) but will David have it all his own way in 2013? Whilst his London win was sensational and he dominated the field, behind him was a wealth of youngsters who will be gunning for his crown next year. The minor medalists were 18-year-old Nijel Amos of Botswana and fellow Kenyan Timothy Kitum, who was only 17 at the time of the race. In 5th was World Indoor champ Mohammed Aman, who has only turned 19 this month!
It’ll be all Dwight on the night
4 x world LJ champ Dwight Phillips was recently telling us that he’d intended to retire after London, but when he didn’t make it due to injury and the title was won in a disappointing 8.31cm, he changed his mind. He’ll be back in 2013 and hoping to take his 5th world title with a significantly longer jump.
Valerie v Herself
Now that her bête noire Nadzeya Ostapchuk has been banned from the sport and with no other challengers in sight, the world’s number one female athlete can concentrate on putting that shot further than ever before. She has nothing else to prove in competition so we look forward to her starting to approach those discredited distances of the past. 21.50cm is surely within her reach.
The world junior long jump champion acquitted herself well at the Olympics in her #1 event of the Heptathlon. 15th place, taking Jess’s UK junior record, was a great start to her senior career. With scope for huge improvements in multiple events, a top 10 placing in Moscow must be on the cards.