This year’s women’s javelin looks just like the women’s high jump: two big names at the top, with the field wide open behind them. Germany’s Christina Obergfoll trails Russia’s Maria Abakumova on the yearly list, but head-to-head, Obergfoll has won every contest, including four Diamond League meets, and she is 7-1 overall.
Two metres behind Obergfoll are Linda Stahl of Germany and China’s Huihui Lu. Stahl has been in majors finals three times and won bronze in London. She was fifth in her only Diamond League meet this season (why only one DL meet?) but won 6 others, including the German Championships to hand Obergfoll her only loss.Lu was fifth in London and is certainly one to watch.
Obergfoll has four Olympic and World medals - none of them gold. It’s her time.
- Christina Obergfoll, Ger
- Maria Abakumova, Rus
- Linda Stahl, Ger
m Triple Jump
With gold in Daegu and London, Christian Taylor (US) is going for the triple crown in Moscow. With four Diamond League wins, he has the best competitive record in the event this year – though do note a couple of uncharacteristic third-place finishes. London silver medalist Will Claye was third in Daegu – time to complete the set? Teddy Tamgho France is one of the most consistent performers since 2010; this year in 11 competitions he has four firsts, six seconds, and a third. Reserve a spot for him on the medal stand.
Last year’s World Junior Champion Pedro Pichardo of Cuba leads the outdoor world list at 58’ ½”; while he has jumped close to home for the first half of the season, he sustained his placings with 1st at Lausanne and 3rd at Monaco. One to watch.
Three entries in our all-name competition: Cuba’s Ernesto Reve – jumps an average of approximately two feet farther per competition at home in Cuba but falls off considerably when he competes off the island; for him, winning worlds would be a dream. Youngster Alexiy Fedorov, who always looks good in a hat, may not be quite there yet, but he was a surprise winner of the Russian National Championships. Italy’s Daniel Greco actually leads to world list at half an inch farther than Pichardo; not quite sure how an indoor March mark will stand up. Perhaps he’s been too busy painting?
- Christian Taylor (US)
- Teddy Tamgho (FR)
- Pedro Pichardo (Cuba)
A review of Kenya’s team might come close to a review of the best contenders for medals. Asbel Kiprop is only 25, and yet his Olympic gold medal stretches time back to Beijing, and his World gold updates it to Daegu. A last-minute injury in London saw him finish last when he was heavily favored to win. Now, he is an even stronger favorite to take gold in Moscow. With three convincing Diamond League wins, including his stunning 3:27.72 in Monaco, and a sub-1:50 finish, Kiprop is clearly the man of the hour. He is now within striking distance of the world record of 3:26.00, though that is not likely in a meet of heats.
His teammates Silas Kiplagat and Nixon Chepseba are stars in their own right, and Bethwell Birgen was pulled to a 3:30.77 in the dramatic Monaco meet; it seems that a Kenyan star of the future might have found his present. Kiplagat won the Kenyan Trials as well as silver in Daegu, and he won the Pre meet mile in 3:49.48. Chepseba also made the London final but was 11th ahead of Kiprop – not a great day in the annals of Kenyan distance running.
Ayanleh Souleiman (Dji) won Oslo and Paris, while Ethiopia’s Amon Wote won the DL Birmingham race; 3:49.88 got him 3rd at Pre!
The US Olympic 2-4 duo of Leo Manzano and Matt Centrowitz has been searching for a return to form. Perhaps the last two weeks of no racing will be to their advantage; their withering speed always makes them contenders, and their 2-4 in the London Olympics was better than… yes, any other nation.
- Asbel Kiprop,Ken
- Silas Kiplagat, Ken
- Amon Wote, Eth
Everyone’s favorite seems to be Russia’s Maria Savinova, the Olympic and World champion.
She’s had an unusual approach to her season with only three 800s (and a 4x400 leg at the Russian Championships), but she’s confirmed her fitness with a 1:58.75 in early June. She peaks beautifully, and her winning times of 1:55.87 in Daegu and 1:56.19 in London ought to give her competitors pause.
Francine Niyonsaba (Bur) leads the world list with 1:56.72 in Eugene. Brenda Martinez (US) and Janeth Jepkosgei (Ken) followed her in Eugene in 1:58.18 and 1:58.71. Martinez won the London Diamond League race and was second to Alysia Montano in the US title race. Jepkosgei was last in the quick London final, but brings a wealth of experience with a complete set of World medals as well as silver from Beijing. She’s finished 2nd or 3rd in each of four major races this year.
Russia’s Olympic bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova is in the mix once again with a sub-2:00 win in Oslo. Morocco’s Malika Akkaoui is peaking well with two wins in her last three races and a stellar 1:57.64 in second behind Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) in Paris.
Niyonsaba, a London finalist 7th, has the best competitive record coming in to Moscow with three Diamond League wins, but, most unfortunately, is out with injury.
US champ Alysia Montano, fifth in London, was only seven tenths away from silver. The five-time US champion showed great fitness in 3rd in Paris in a fast 1:57.75, but followed with a DNF in Madrid
- Mariya Savinova, Rus
- Malika Akkaoui, Mor
- Alysia Montano, US
w 4x100m relay
With a 1-2-3 of English Gardner (10.85), Octavious Freeman (10.87), and Alexandria Anderson (10.91) joined by defending world champ Carmelita Jeter (10.93), the defending Olympic Champs look hard to beat. Great depth with Jeneba Tarmoh and Barbara Pierre should ease the early rounds. With Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price and Kerron Stewart, the Jamaican relay looks like a strong candidate for silver, even with Veronica Campbell-Brown out on a drug violation. Ukraine won Olympic bronze over a Nigerian team anchored by a now-faster Blessing Okagbare. Trinidad and Tobago will want to avenge their Olympic DQ; could be a fascinating matchup between Okagbare and Kelley-Ann Baptiste on anchor. Russia has had this meet as a national training focus for several years; expect a highly disciplined team with perfect passes. Ukraine returns from a bronze in London and with Mariye Ryemeyen having defeated Duncan over 200m in Lausanne.
- United States
- Trinidad and Tobago
m 4x100m relay
With Bolt (9.85), Carter (9.87), Cole (9.96), and Ashmeade (9.99), Jamaica simply has more depth than the US with Gatlin (9.89), Locke (9.96), Rodgers (9.96) and Silmon (9.98). Did I mention Jamaica’s anchor? It’s wide open for bronze. Interestingly, St. Kitts has three at 10.01 or faster, and Great Britain has an outstanding anchor in James Dasaolu (9.91). Canada returns only two of last year’s bronze DQ team.
- United States
- St. Kitts