IAAF World Championships London 2017 : What we can look forward to

This month, London will be home to the World Championship of Athletics. From the 5th to the 13th, London will be filled with spectators and competitors, all jostling for a view or striving for a medal.
These championships will be expertly run and are intended to showcase not only the height of athletic prowess but also the skill of the British organisers. There will be goodbyes, records, controversy and some innovations, but all concerned are confident that these will be the greatest championships so far.
Over 600,000 tickets have been sold and this figure keeps rising. Organisers expect the stadiums to be packed, but it is the unique urban landscape of London that will be best milked for its iconic power.
The marathon starts on Tower Bridge, scene to a recent act of terror, and will continue past many of the most famous landmarks of this singular city. The awards ceremony will be held at the Tower of London, not far from the starting position. The race is sure to engage its international audience.
Race walks will be held along the Mall, with the victory ceremonies being held in front of Buckingham Palace.
Most of the other events will be held in the specially designed stadiums put in place for the highly lauded London Olympics of 2012. Only recently, West Ham United Football Club took down their name from the London Stadium, allowing it to regain its non-partisan aspect.
With the recent truck attack on London Bridge and the Manchester tragedy of June, all efforts to safeguard the events are being taken. While the UK seems vulnerable to terror attacks, administrators argue that London is one of the safest places in the world for major competitions.
Lord Coe, speaking about the increase in the threat level from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’, said that “I’m unashamed in my admiration for the police services throughout the UK. We worked very closely with the Metropolitan Police during the London 2012 years.
“Within the confines of what is an increasingly complicated and complex international landscape, there is probably no other country I would rather be in for a major championships than the UK – we do this extremely well. That is not tempting fate, we just have an experience in putting sporting events on in a city that has always been global and has always been a target.”
Hopefully the public won’t know what is happening behind the scenes and can concentrate on the competition.
One innovation that awaits the coaching staff in London will be the broadening of the definition of medals. This championship, coaches or significant staff will be awarded medals for the first time. The idea is to reward the individuals who are often working just as hard as the athletes.
When publicising the innovation, the IAAF said that the “medals, gifted to successful athletes once they return from the ceremony, will be for them to hand to their coach or significant advisor in recognition of the unique and valued working relationship”.
This move will certainly help to raise the profile and reward the services of these often neglected individuals who help enhance the sport.
On the track, there will be many fascinating clashes. As mentioned in these pages, Usain Bolt will be contesting the 4x100m relay and the 100m sprint for the last time, as significant a race as anyone will see this decade. In order to instil a love of track and field in a new generation, the IAAF has made tickets available to young people for as little as £10 for the race.
British runner Mo Farah will be back at the place where he managed his famous ‘double gold’ in 2012. He will be competing in the 3000m and 5000m, and will certainly be a crowd favourite on his home turf.
The long jump should be particularly competitive, with the gold, silver and bronze medalists from Rio’s Olympics reunited for a rematch. World champion Tianna Bartoletta goes in as the favourite. The American jumper was actually in London five years ago for the Olympics, but that time as a sprinter.
“London was where I made my first Olympic team,” she says. “Running the 100m in London was a life-changing experience, which really set me up for the second phase of my career.
“It is really interesting that I’ll be going back to that same stadium but in a different event, which I think is kind of cool.”
Back at the marathon, the Ethiopian team will be expectant of great things this year. Record-holders Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba have won plenty of golds between them in different meets, but are on the same national team for the first time at a major competition.
Bekele ran a 2:05:04 in Paris in 2014, and bettered that last year with a 2:03:03. Dibaba snagged a silver in London, gaining a national record for her run of 2:17:56. If they get anywhere close to their bests this time around, they should blow the field away.
These are just three of the subplots that will be part of the action come August. Just like in any competition, there will be any number of surprises and upsets, champions will be confirmed and legends born.
It is sure to be an exciting
two weeks.