The Ivorian pair of Murielle Ahoure and Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare will lead Africa’s charge for medals in the women’s 100m at the IAAF World Championships-London 2017.
Murielle Ahoure, who is currently ranked third in the world with 10.83, was the silver medallist in Moscow four years ago. The 29-year-old is enjoying a resurgence in form in 2017 having failed to make the final in Rio, suggesting that she could contend for a medal.
But compatriot Marie-Josee Ta Lou could perhaps be Ivory Coast’s best bet for a podium place. She finished just outside of the medals in the 100m and 200m at last year’s Olympic Games and has recorded times of 10.90, her second-best ever, for 100m and a national record of 22.16 for 200m.
Nigeria’s 30-year-old Blessing Okagbare has made the 100m final in each of the past three World Championships and, following a third place in London last month, can expect to make a fourth.
In the world of sprinting, a lot can happen in the space of two years. But a glance back at the result of the 100m at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 highlights some names familiar to 2017 observers.
Dafne Schippers is there in the silver medal position, having run 10.81 for a Dutch record. So too is Tori Bowie, who claimed bronze in 10.86. While outside of the medals, there’s the Trinidad and Tobago pair Michelle-Lee Ahye and Kelly-Ann Baptiste, with the former breaking the 11-second barrier and the latter just outside.
And there’s a Jamaican world champion, 0.05 ahead of the rest.
It’s a scenario that could well transpire again in London, despite the fact that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Jamaican who took the gold, is absent as she prepares for the birth of her first child.
Instead, it’s Elaine Thompson, the Olympic champion over both short sprints in Rio last year, who is the favourite to take her first world title. The 25-year-old with a best of 10.70 from 2016, tops the world list with 10.71 set in Kingston in June and is unbeaten in finals over 100m this season, including four victories in IAAF Diamond League meetings.
Schippers, the champion over 200m two years ago, won in Rome in June and has run consistently within 11 seconds since opening her season in April and her rivalry with Thompson promises to be continued over the coming few days.
Bowie, too, will feel confident of returning to the podium following a silver medal in Rio and some fast times over the past few seasons, including 10.78 in Eugene in 2016.
Of the Trinidad and Tobago duo, it is Ahye who has run the quickest so far in 2017, her 10.82 set in winning the national championships in Port of Spain in June putting her second on the current world list.
In addition to Bowie, Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington will represent the USA and will each be hoping to break 11 seconds for the first time.
Dean Hardman for the IAAF