Must-watch night as Bolt and Farah bow out


There may be six finals on the second-last day of the 2017 IAAF World Championships, but all the focus will be on the farewells of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah -- the two most prolific male world and Olympic gold medallists of recent times.

Saturday will see the conclusion of the men's decathlon competition (through the 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin and 1500m legs), 4x400m heats, and six finals to guarantee a day of thrills, spills and new heroes as old ones bow out.

The morning session is largely about sorting out the ins and outs for the relays before France's Kevin Mayer, Rico Freimuth, Kai Kazmirek (both Germany) and Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine continue their battle to see who would succeed Ashton Eaton as World champion.


The atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium might still be building up when the women's high jump final gets going at 20:05 (CAT), but with a much-loved local in Katarina Johnson-Thompson in it the it will reach fever-pitch soon enough.

'KJT', though, is only an outside medal hopeful because it's difficult to look past Mariya Lasistskene for the win.

The Russian is the defending champion and has dominated the season's list, including setting a world lead of 2.06m when nobody else has even jumped over two metres outdoors. The Russia ban also denied her the chance of winning gold at Rio 2016, so motivation will be there for the 24-year-old.

However, that will also be the case for Lithuania's Airine Palsyte, who did 2.01m indoors, Vashti Cunningham (USA) and Poland's Kamila Licwinko who will bank on final pressure taking the edge off Lasistskene.


There will also be an overwhelming favourite at 21:05 (CAT) when the women's 100m hurdles is run.

Australia's Sally Pearson might have rolled back the years in the semifinals to remind fans of the days she won gold at Daegu 2011 and in indeed in this stadium during the 2012 Olympic Games, but Kendra Harrison remains the star attraction.

The American world record holder reached the final as a 'lucky loser' but few would bet on her having two below par performances in a row -- even if she has yet to make a major championship impact. Also, the way she fought back in her semi suggests that any decent start would put paid to any rivals.

Of course, Harrison's veteran American compatriot Dawn Harper Nelson (who won gold at Beijing 2008) and Germany's Pamela Dutkiewicz will take encouragement from making her sweat and they will fight for medals alongside the other Americans Nia Ali (2017's world indoor champion) and Christina Manning.


Had you predicted the men's javelin champion during the early part of the season then Thomas Rohler would have been your man. Were you to choose now then Johannes Vetter would likely get the vote, but the one guarantee is that a German will win the final at 21:15 (CAT).

The pair are the only throwers to surpass 90m in 2017 (Vetter managed 91.20m in qualifying), so it's just a matter of whether the Rohler, the Rio 2016 champion, can regain his early form or whether the momentum stays with Vetter. Furthermore, both are in their mid-20s so this rivalry could well go for years and years.

Meanwhile, fellow German Andreas Hoffman, London 2012 champion Keshorn Walcott (Trinidad and Tobago), Greece's Ioannis Kiriazis, Finnish veteran Tero Pitkamaki and Kenya's defending champion Julius Yego will be in the mix for medals.

It will then be the turn of Mo Farah against a different cast of men to those who he outfought and outran in the opening night's 10 000m final when the 5 000m final takes place at 21:20 (CAT).


The Somalia-born Briton, running in his last race, cruised through a heat where Ethiopians Yomif Kejelcha and Muktar Edris -- 2017's world leader -- finished either side of him. There's was the slower of the two heats with 17-year-old Selemon Barega blitzing the other to emphatically confirm to Farah that the Ethiopians will be the men he has to watch carefully -- for various reasons.

Should it be a particularly tactical affair, then Birhanu Balew (the Ethiopia-born Bahraini), Kenya's Cyrus Rutto and potentially Australia's Patrick Tiernan will look to benefit; but anything other than Farah mustering enough to clinch a 12th straight major win in the two long distance disciplines is difficult to see.


And then it will be over to the relays, starting with the women's 4x100m at 22:30 (CAT) and Africa-less after the Ghanaian women were knocked out from the heat Nigeria didn't start.

Be that as it may, the women's final looks like a straight battle between the quartets of USA and Great Britain, who impressed in qualification. That said Germany won the title at the world relays championships in Bahamas earlier this year and Jamaica are always a threat.

Finally, the men's relay (at 22:50, CAT) will be billed as a chance for Usain Bolt to avenge his 100m disappointment against Justin Gatlin, but they are as reliant on their teammates running and handing the baton over as they are on their own sprinting abilities.

It goes without saying that the pair will give everything they have to win gold for Jamaica and the USA (who have been drawn alongside each other), but Great Britain definitely have it within them to upset the odds.

Either way, this is a day which will keep you on the edge of your seats.