World track and field championships to open with field stars, hot marathon
The last track and field world championships under the IAAF name -- the world federation has approved a name change to World Athletics -- will start Friday in Doha, Qatar at 4:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. Eastern time) with the qualification round of the long jump.
Through the course of the day, top field event starts will be in action, trying to qualify for the finals in their events. Up first is Olympic long jump champion Jeff Henderson, who has had a curious season -- his jump of 8.38 meters from April is fourth in the world this year, but he hasn’t been close to that since.
Women’s pole vaulter Jenn Suhr, the 2012 gold medalist, has had a similar season, clearing 4.91 meters in March but struggling the rest of the year. She’s one of three U.S. medal contenders along with Sandi Morris and Katie Nageotte.
One of the best friendly rivalries in sports will resume in men’s triple jump qualification, with Will Claye and Christian Taylor drawn into different groups.
Gwen Berry, a hammer thrower who raised a fist on the Pan Am Games podium to draw attention to social issues this summer, is part of a trio of Americans occupying the top three places on the world performance list this year. DeAnna Price is first on the list, followed by Brooke Andersen. They’ll all be in action trying to avoid stumbling in the qualifying round.
Other top U.S. athletes going through qualifying rounds Friday include Ajee Wilson in the women’s 800m, Vashti Cunningham in the women’s high jump, Emma Coburn in the women’s steeplechase and Rai Benjamin in the men’s 400m hurdles.
NBCSN will have live coverage of the day’s action from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern, and NBC Sports Gold will stream live coverage of every event over the 10-day meet.
A few hours later (11:59 p.m. local time, 4:59 p.m. ET), the women’s marathon will take place -- probably.
Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich is the favorite after winning the Dubai Marathon in January with the third-fastest time ever -- 2:17:08.
The Olympic Channel will carry the race live. NBC Sports Gold will have extended coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.
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