Thursday, July 21, 2011

Monaco – Next Stop on the Road to Daegu


There aren’t many opportunities left to check yourself if you are headed to Daegu. Three big ones as a matter of fact – Monaco, Stockholm and London! The first of these, Monaco, is tomorrow.

I’ve learned to not take pre meet entry sheets as the end all be all, but there are some things/individuals that I will be watching for.


Women’s Long Jump

Both Darya Klishina (RUS) and Brittney Reeese (USA) are scheduled to compete. They have both PR’d recently and are the only two women over 23 feet. Throw in Janay Deloach (USA) and you have the three longest jumpers in the world this year. Definitely a preview of potential Daegu medalists.


Men’s Pole Vault

Season leaders Brad Walker (USA) and Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) are both in the field. So is defending World champ Steven Hooker (AUS) who is looking for his first outdoor mark this year. Hooker is cutting it close with World’s just around the corner. He’s going to need every meet he can get to get sharp. Lavillenie, on the other hand, has cleared 19’ 1” in May, June and July – so seems very sharp this year. Gold should come from within this trio.


Men’s 800

World Record holder David Rudisha will be running – which over the last couple of seasons means everyone else is running for second place. Such should be the case once again in Monaco. The man I’ll be watching in this race is Nick Symmonds. Can he stay anywhere near the pace, and can he get anywhere near a 1:43? He has to be able to do both if he wants any sort of shot at approaching the medal stand in Korea.


Women’s 200

Four of the five women I expect to have an impact in Daegu are entered – Allyson Felix (USA), Shalonda Solomon (USA), Carmelita Jeter (USA) and Kerron Stewart (JAM). Only Jamaican Veronica Campbell Brown is missing. This is Felix’ pet race, but she has run the 400 far more often this year. Her turn will be a concern here. Solomon and Stewart need to look sharp. And Jeter needs to show increased strength. The medals won’t be decided here, but everyone should get a good idea of just where they are with weeks to go.


Men’s Triple Jump

As Dorothy said to Toto “we’re not in Kansas anymore”, and that’s what Will Claye (USA) and Christian Taylor (USA) will be saying to each other in Monaco as they begin to face life and competition abroad. These two dominated the collegiate scene this year, but now will face others capable of going 57/58 feet on any given day. Chief among them could be recent Ukrainian find Sheryf El Sheryf, who just went 58’ 1.5” to win the European Junior meet in Ostrava. this trio is the future of the event and will get a good welcome to the big time against defending World Champion Phillips Idowu (GBR) and super vet Christian Olsson (SWE).


Men’s 100

It’s nearly August and defending World champ and WR holder Usain Bolt has a season’s best of “only” 9.91. Couple that with his press interview where he said not to expect a WR run from him this year, and one wonders where he is with just a few weeks until blast off. 2011 sub 10 performers Nesta Carter (JAM), Mike Rodgers (USA), Christophe Lemaitre (FRA), and Saidy Ndure (NOR) are about to find out. I’ll be looking at the entire Bolt race tomorrow – to see just how sharp he is. Carter and Rodgers will need to work on their finishes if they want to be close to Bolt. Lemaitre and Ndure will need to work on their starts. The 100 is such a technical and short race that pre Major’s races don’t usually tell much about where the medals are going. They do, however, give a peek into how sharp competitors are. Anyone hoping to have a shot at unseating Bolt better have their race dialed in by now!


We’re coming off the final bend and heading down the homestretch on our way to the real starting line in Daegu.The final minutes of baking before we take the cake out of the oven and let it cool before putting on the icing. And Monaco should at least tell us who is almost ready for cooling and icing!


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