The first day of the World Athletics Championships on Saturday could not have been better organised, with two of the biggest stars lined up for action after a doping-tainted run-up to competition.
Britain’s Mo Farah is odds-on favourite to claim gold in the men’s 10,000m while Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt faces his first outing at Luzhniki Stadium in the heats for the 100m.
The day’s other final comes in the women’s marathon, featuring defending world champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya against reigning Olympic champion Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia, who is looking for a first marathon title for her country. Farah was one of the faces of the London Olympics after he claimed double gold in the 5,000 and 10,000m.
The Somali-born 30-year-old has not have run over 25 laps of the track since his triumph. Dropping down distances to hone his speed, Farah shocked many observers by claiming a European record in the 1500m in Monaco this season. His time of 3:28.81 was the sixth-fastest ever run.
Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan, defending world champion, did not compete in London and has been overtaken somewhat by his team-mates, Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel, Abera Kuma and Imane Merga.
The 100m, with the semi-finals and final to be run on Sunday, seems Bolt’s to lose. He was sensationally disqualified in Daegu after a calamitous false start in the final and now-injured team-mate Yohan Blake took gold.
The field for the blue riband event has been significantly diminished after the positive doping tests for American Tyson Gay and Jamaica’s Asafa Powell.
French hurdler Alice Decaux has been banned for six months for a doping offence. Decaux tested positive for amphetamines in a test conducted at the European team event in June.