BEIJING: Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin will renew their sprint rivalry in the world championships 200m heats on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT), two days after their explosive 100m showdown in Beijing.
World record-holder David Rudisha will go for gold in the men’s 800m and Genzebe Dibaba is favourite in the women’s 1500m in a star-studded program at the Bird’s Nest stadium.
But attention will inevitably focus on Jamaica’s Bolt, who narrowly beat two-time doping offender Gatlin in Sunday’s 100m final to strike a symbolic blow for clean athletics.
The 200m is Bolt’s preferred event and the lanky showman will be seeking a fourth consecutive title after having previously triumphed in Berlin, Daegu and Moscow.
“I went to see my coach (Glen Mills) after the (100m) semi-final and he told me ‘You’re thinking about it too much’,” Bolt said on Sunday.
“And he is right because I know exactly what to do. I guess this recipe of confidence will also work for the 200m.”
Kenya’s Olympic champion Rudisha will be up against it in the 800m as he faces tough challenges in the shape of Ethiopian Mohammed Aman, Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Bosnian Amel Tuka.
In the women’s 1500m, Dibaba looks untouchable after she last month shattered the 1993 world record of China’s Qu Yunxia, who trained under the controversial coach Ma Junren.
Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan, Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi, American duo Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury, and Kenyan Faith Kipyegon look set to battle for lower steps of the podium.
In the men’s long jump final, Olympic title-holder Greg Rutherford will fight it out with America’s Jeff Henderson and defending champion Aleksandr Menkov of Russia.
“We will need to show a big performance over 8.50m to fight for gold. Jeff Henderson will attack it for sure,” said Britain’s Rutherford.
Also on day four, there will be a new champion in the men’s 400m hurdles after Trinidad and Tobago’s defending champion Jehue Gordon failed to make it into the final.