A-Z of the IAAF World Athletics Championships (part two)

Nafissatou Thiam
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Nafissatou Thiam will be aiming for her fourth successive major heptathlon title at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha

From Belgium's combined events star Nafissatou Thiam to Jan Zelezny's record haul of five medals in the javelin, here is the second part of our alphabetic retrospective of the IAAF World Athletics Championships from a European angle. The first part is here.  

N is for Nafissatou

Belgium’s multi-events superstar Nafissatou Thiam will look to follow fellow Europeans Carolina Kluft from Sweden and Jessica Ennis-Hill from Great Britain as the only athletes to retain the heptathlon world title. If Thiam succeeds, this will be her fourth major heptathlon title in a row.

O is for Ostrava

This is where it all started for some of Europe’s most bemedalled athletes. Reigning world discus champions Sandra Perkovic and Andrius Gudzius won silver and bronze medals respectively at the 2007 World Youth Championships. Other notable medal winners at the championships included fellow reigning world and European champions Ramil Guliyev and Ekaterini Stefanidi and world silver medallist Darya Klishina.  

P is for Pawel

Polish hammer superstar Pawel Fajdek will be looking to maintain an amazing record having won the world crown on the last three occasions – in Moscow 2013, Beijing in 2015 and London in 2017. His teammate and namesake Pawel Wojciechowski, the reigning European indoor champion, will be looking to win another major medal in the pole vault.

Q is for Qualification

Which is what the opening day is all about in the stadium with just the one medal event - the women’s marathon - taking place outside the Khalifa International Stadium. Everything in the stadium will be about athletes making it through to the next stage. 

R is for Relay.

Europe will be looking to match or even better the success from London 2017 when Great Britain won four medals in the relays - including the men’s 4x100m title - and Poland won one. The Germans currently hold the world lead in the women’s 4x100m at 41.67 and an accomplished Polish team won the women’s 4x400m at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama in May. This time there will be an extra relay gold up for grabs in the mixed 4x400m. 

S is for Sweden

After one of the greatest nights in the history of the European Athletics Championships in 2018 when he won pole vault gold at the age of just 18, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis will now look to rule the world. Teammate Daniel Stahl looks poised to follow suit in the discus.

T is for Treble

Two years ago in London, France was the leading European nation by finishing fourth in the medal table with three golds and two silvers. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse (800m), Yohann Diniz (50km race walk) and Kevin Mayer (decathlon) will all be defending their titles in London. 

U is for Unprecedented

Sifan Hassan has entered the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m at the World Championships. A 1500/5000m double isn’t made possible due to the timetable clash but the European 5000m champion has been toying with the idea of attempting an unprecedented 1500/10,000m double in Doha.  

V is for Vetter

The 2017 World Championships were a good championships for athletes with the surname Vetter. Germany’s Johannes Vetter improved on his fourth-place finish from 2015 to strike gold in the javelin while his Dutch namesake Anouk Vetter came away with the bronze medal in the heptathlon.  

W is for World Record

Winning gold is glorious but to achieve it in a world record makes it even more memorable. Portugal’s Ines Henriques won the world 50km race walk title in London in new figures of 4:05:56, the first time the event was staged at the championships. Great Britain’s Jonathan Edwards and Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets both famously won the triple jump titles in Gothenburg 1995 with world records which still haven’t been beaten. 

X is for the X on the scorecard

Ukraine’s Inga Babakova was involved in two tantalisingly close high jump finals. Babakova won the world title in 1999 on countback courtesy of a clear card up to the winning height of 1.99m. Two years later Babakova missed out on the world title in the same scenario to Hestrie Cloete due to costly first-time failures at both 1.90m and 1.97m. 

Y is for Youngest

At 16y and 321d, Jakob Ingebrigtsen became the youngest athlete to contest the 3000m steeplechase in IAAF World Championships history in London two years ago. Ingebrigtsen exited in the heats on that day but he will have aspirations of going much better in the 1500m and 5000m in Doha.  

Z is for Zelezny

The great Czech thrower Jan Zelezny won a record five medals in the javelin between 1987 and 2001, including titles in 1993, 1995 and 2001 when he set the still-standing championship record of 92.80m.