Amid bitter conflict over a slew of doping allegations and frantic politicking for the presidency of troubled world governing body the IAAF, it has been easy to forget the World Athletics Championships.
Focus returns to matters on the track on Saturday, however, when competition at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing begins – perhaps much to the relief of the sport’s embattled administrators.
A 100m grudge match between Usain Bolt and tainted rival Justin Gatlin is likely to be the main draw, but which British athletes should viewers keep an eye on? City A.M. put in the hard yards so you don’t have to.
Mo Farah, 10,000m and 5,000m, Sat 22 1.50pm and Sat 29 12.30pm
While not necessarily one to help athletics forget its recent troubles, given the storm surrounding his coach Alberto Salazar and training partner Galen Rupp, Farah’s bid to defend his two titles is one of the most compelling stories of the week. The Briton, short of practice in both events, goes in the longer race tomorrow.
Jess Ennis-Hill, heptathlon, Sat 2am-Sun 12.40pm
London 2012’s golden girl is another who could be rusty, but impressed enough on her return to the capital at the Anniversary Games last month to convince her to try Beijing. Will have to overhaul favourite Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada, as well as fellow Brit and medal hope Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
Greg Rutherford, long-jump, final Tue 12.25pm
The least celebrated of Britain’s trio of Super Saturday Olympic gold medallists three years ago, Rutherford has the chance to do something neither Farah and Ennis-Hill have and complete a grand slam of all four major titles. The 28-year-old already has Olympic, Commonwealth and European golds and tops year’s Diamond League standings.
Shara Proctor, long-jump, final, Fri 12.50pm
The Anguilla-born 26-year-old has a history of narrowly missing the podium, other than at the 2012 World Indoors in Istanbul, where she won bronze – her only senior medal of note. But Proctor is currently third in the Diamond League standings and set a new British record by leaping 6.98m, the third best of anyone this year, in London in July.
Zharnel Hughes, 200m, final Thu 1.55pm
He may end up being a sideshow to another instalment of Usain v Justin, but the 20-year-old, who trains with Bolt in Jamaica, is fast realising his promise. Another Anguillan to take up the right to compete for Britain, Hughes won this event at the Anniversary Games and is third in the Diamond League standings.