Japan will be opening a brand new National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo on December 21 and former sprinter, the world’s fastest ever man, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt will be headlining its launch.

While the details are still sketchy, Bolt is expected to be running again in “a new type of race that has never existed before.”

Bolt, the world record holder over 100 and 200 metres, made the Olympics his stage when he won both events in Beijing in 2008, in London in 2012, and in Rio in 2016.

Bolt will be joined by Japanese performing arts group Kodo.

Also part of the inauguration will be the Tohoku Kizuna festival.

The New National Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2020 Olympics, as well as athletics and football tournaments at throughout. It will also host the Paralympics.

The first official sports event at the stadium will be the Japanese emperor’s cup on January 1, 2020.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe has described the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 as the best in history in terms of the quality and depth of performances produced by the athletes of more than 200 nations.

Speaking after the final evening session last Sunday, Coe noted that six championship records had been set, 43 countries had won medals, and athletes from 68 different nations had achieved at least one top-eight placing. There have been 21 area records – double the number from 2017 – and 86 national records have been broken, underlining the global reach of the sport.

“For those who follow our sport closely, you will know that we rank our championships on the performances of the athletes,” Coe said. “It is how we, the athletes and the coaches measure our success.

“The world’s athletes have put on the best show in the history of the IAAF World Athletics Championships, according to the competition performance rankings which are used as an objective measure of the quality of international competition.

“These performances are incredible but credit must also go to the facilities and conditions provided by the host country. Doha has created conditions on the field of play and in the warm up that are unsurpassed.

“We are proud of the fact we reach more countries than any other sport,” added Coe. “Just look at the breadth and depth – 43 countries on the medals table and 86 national records set. We want our athletes to experience different cultures and different conditions. It’s what makes our sport so accessible.”

Dahlan Al Hamad, Vice President of the local organising committee, was delighted to see Qatar’s dreams become reality.

“Our dream started in 1997 when we organised the first meeting in this stadium,” he said. “After that, we kept hosting many meets until 2000 when we organised the Grand Prix Final. We continued our journey in 2010 when we organised the World Indoor Championships in the nearby Aspire Dome. We also organised the Diamond League meeting here and it was really good.

“We are thrilled we have been able to expand. There are generations here who are hungry to have this kind of sporting event here. Qatar is a nation of more than 100 communities. They have been able to celebrate their athletes from all around the world.”

 

Top ranked World Championships

Based on the IAAF competition performance rankings, used to rank the quality of competitions, the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 tops the list of all World Championships to date.

 

Taking the best five results and athletes from the best 24 events, the top five editions are:

 

  1. 2019, Doha – 195,869
  2. 2015, Beijing – 194,547
  3. 2017, London – 193,426
  4. 2013, Moscow – 192,664
  5. 2009, Berlin – 191,168

 

Based on the average scores of all track and field results, the top five editions are:

 

  1. 2019, Doha – 1024.75
  2. 2017, London – 1012.84
  3. 1999, Seville – 1007.98
  4. 2015, Beijing – 1004.78
  5. 2009, Berlin – 1004.55

 

There have been many outstanding performances over the 10 days of competition with unprecedented depth in many of the finals. Based on the IAAF scoring tables, the top five men’s and women’s performances are:

 

MEN

22.91m Joe Kovacs (USA) shot put – 1295pts

22.90m Tom Walsh (NZL) shot put – 1294pts

22.90m Ryan Crouser (USA) shot put – 1294pts

9.76 Christian Coleman (USA) 100m – 1291pts

43.48 Steven Gardiner (BAH) 400m – 1289pts

 

WOMEN

7.30m Malaika Mihambo (GER) long jump – 1288pts

48.14 Salwa Eid Naser (BRN) 400m – 1281pts

48.37 Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) 400m – 1272pts

3:51.95 Sifan Hassan (NED) 1500m – 1271pts

6981 Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR) heptathlon – 1269pts

 

The championships have not just been about record-breaking performances, though. This edition will also be remembered for its close finishes, surprise winners, moments of fair play, and the arrival of the next generation of athletics stars.

USA’s 200m winner Noah Lyles and Germany’s decathlon victor Niklas Kaul became the youngest ever world champions in their respective events. Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh twice broke the world U20 record on her way to the silver medal in the high jump. She was one of several athletes born in or after the year 2000 who earned medals, along with Ethiopian duo Selemon Barega and Lemecha Girma and Bahrain’s Musa Isah.

The innovations – including light shows, new camera angles and increased engagement with athletes – have helped the sport reach a younger audience around the world.

Allyson Felix became the most decorated athlete in IAAF World Championships history as she helped the United States to victory in the mixed-gender 4x400m relay.

Felix was level with Usain Bolt on 11 gold medals at the event prior to Saturday's race in Doha.

But the 33-year-old, who became a mother in November, helped set up Michael Cherry to power clear on the last leg.

Poland - who decided to send their two men out first in an attempt to build up an unassailable lead - held the advantage until Cherry came into play, with Felix having run second.

Cherry simply had too much for the rest of the field, with Javon Francis claiming silver for Jamaica and Bahrain coming in third.

The globe's finest track and field stars have descended on Doha for the 2019 World Athletics Championships, as the competition enters a new era.

The sport's grandest outdoor event outside the Olympics is being staged in the Middle East for the first time in its 36-year history, with 1972 competitors - including all 30 Diamond League champions - from 210 teams in action from Friday until October 6.

The next 10 days will also bear witness to the first world championships since 2005 where Usain Bolt, the man who set world records over 100 and 200 metres 10 years ago in Berlin, will not be competing.

In Qatar, there will be pretenders to Bolt's throne, not only as the fastest human being in history but also as the sport's most charismatic champion.

There will be past winners - including the event's most decorated athlete in history - and old rivalries renewed in the Doha heat in what could be a championships to make or break the IAAF's commitment to putting athletics firmly back on the minds of the masses.

With the Olympics less than a year away, who will take the world by storm?

LYLES OUT TO SURPASS BOLT AS JAMAICA'S GREATEST GO HEAD-TO-HEAD

It sometimes sounds trite to talk of Bolt's 'successor', but athletics may well have found its newest poster boy in American Noah Lyles.

The 22-year-old clocked 19.50 seconds in Lausanne – the fourth-fastest 200m time in history – and will have his eye on Bolt's record of 19.19.

Indeed, this could be Lyle's best chance to go under that remarkable time from a decade ago, as the 2014 Youth Olympics champion plans to double up in the 100m and 200m from next year. In Doha, he will not have so many distractions.

It means defending 100m champion Justin Gatlin, who has gone under 10 seconds four times this season at the age of 37, will face his toughest competition against 2017 silver medallist Christian Coleman. Cleared to compete after United States anti-doping authorities withdrew charges relating to missed drugs tests, Coleman ran a world-leading time of 9.81 in June and is many people's favourite for gold. Nigeria's Divine Oduduru and in-form Akani Simbine cannot be discounted, though.

Perhaps the most enthralling battle comes in the women's 100m, though, where two Jamaican Olympic champions over the distance, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson, will go head-to-head. They share the world-leading time of 10.73 for 2019 and know how to handle the spotlight of athletics' most demanding events, although Dina Asher-Smith and defending world champion Tori Bowie must be considered major threats.

FELIX BACK FOR MORE METAL AS 400M HURDLES HEAT UP

Allyson Felix, the most decorated athlete in world championships history, will seek to add to her 16 medals in the 4x400m relay following the premature birth of her daughter last November.

In the individual race, all eyes are on Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who has put her sole focus on the 400m and whose 49.05 time in Gainesville this year has not been beaten.

With defending champion and world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk absent, expect Michael Norman and Fred Kerley to stage a spectacular showdown in the men's event – although perhaps 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James, beset by injury troubles in recent seasons, could spring a shock.

The real intrigue lies in the one-lap hurdle events, though. 

Dalilah Muhammad broke Yulia Pechonkina's 16-year world record at the US Championships with a time of 52.20 and the Olympic champion is now hoping to add world gold to her collection by withstanding the pressure of rising star Sydney McLaughlin.

Karsten Warholm might be the second-fastest man in history in the 400m hurdles, but Rai Benjamin is ready to push him all the way in Doha, the two having both gone beneath 47 seconds in a thrilling race in Zurich. Abderrahman Samba is also a huge threat.

Warholm, backed by maverick coach Leif Olav Alnes, has compared himself to fictional financier Gordon Gekko of the motto "greed is good", as he targets back-to-back world golds. Benjamin's response? "If Karsten is Gordon Gekko, then I am the IRS."

ECHEVARRIA BACK AND JUMPING FOR JOY

Juan Miguel Echevarria's 8.65m broke the Diamond League record for the men's long jump in Zurich, a distance bettered only by a massive wind-assisted 8.92m he managed in March.

Mike Powell's world record of 8.95m has long been considered out of reach, but Echevarria could at least leap closer to that mark.

Belgium's record-holder in the women's long jump is, of course, the indomitable Nafissatou Thiam, who is favourite to defend her heptathlon title after setting a world-leading 6819 in Talence this year despite having an elbow injury.

Having leapt to within nine centimetres of Inessa Kravets' 15.50m from 1995, defending world triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas is another targeting a world record - assuming the hi-tech cooling system in the Khalifa International Stadium can keep the intense heat at bay.

The conditions in Doha have prompted concerns around athlete welfare and there will be extra medical staff, water stops and ice baths available for the marathon races that get underway at 23:59 local time (20:59 GMT) to avoid the worst of the weather.

It takes more than heat and humidity to put off Jesus Angel Garcia, though. Spain's maestro race walker will become the World Championships' oldest ever competitor at the age of 49 when he gets going in the 50-kilometre event on September 28.

The 17th IAAF World Championships of Athletics, set for Doha, Qatar, begins on Friday with many wondering how the tiny island nation of Jamaica will perform, bearing in mind the absence of a number of athletes from the country's richest era on the track to date. The absence of a certain Usain Bolt, arguably the greatest sprinter of all time, is the most notable absence. Can Jamaica bounce back. The Commentators, Donald Oliver and Ricardo Chambers certainly seem to think so.  

Former 100m world record holder Donovan Bailey has joined the throng of track and field greats who have come out against ESPN Max Kellerman who said track and field athletes are those who have failed at American football and basketball.

Jamaican track legend Usain Bolt and his United States counterpart Carl Lewis, rarely agree on anything, but both have stood firmly beside each other in chiding ESPN reporter Max Kellerman, over disparaging comments about the sport. 

On August 16, 2009, Usain Bolt clocked 9.58 seconds in the final of the 100 metres at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

A decade on, with the eight-time Olympic champion now retired, that world-record time still stands.

At just 22, the Jamaican obliterated a mark he had set exactly one year earlier at the Olympics in Beijing, shaving more than a tenth of a second of the time.

Doctor Peter Weyand, a biomechanics expert at Southern Methodist University, told Omnisport what made Bolt so unique.

A slow starter?

One of the biggest misconceptions of Bolt was that, due to his 6ft 5in frame, he was a slow starter. Not true, says Weyand. Particularly on that night in Germany when only Dwain Chambers was ahead of him after the first few strides.

"The most unusual thing was how well he was able to start for somebody as big as he is," Weyand explained.

"Normally the people that accelerate and get out of the blocks very quickly tend to be the shorter sprinters. The physics and biology of acceleration favours smaller people. In 2009, I think he started as well as anybody in that race. The start was a differentiator."

Long legs = more force

Though his height may have given him a slight disadvantage out of the blocks, Bolt's frame came in handy once the race opened up, allowing him to generate more power in the short steps sprinters take.

"What limits how fast a sprinter can go is how much force they can get down in the really short periods of time they have to do it," Weyand said.

"If you're going faster, the only way to do what you need to do to pop your body back up with a shorter contact time is to put down more force. What all elite sprinters do is put down more force in relation to their body mass than people who aren't as fast.

"If you're Bolt and you're 6ft 5in, you have a longer leg and you have more forgiveness. He probably has six, seven, eight milliseconds more on the ground.

"You have to put down a peak force of about five times body weight and that needs to happen in three hundredths of a second after your foot comes down.

"He was so athletic and so tall. His long legs gave him more time on the ground."

Fewer strides, greater success

Believe it or not, sprinters cannot maintain their top speed for the entire 100m. Bolt, who also holds the 200m world record, had another advantage in that he needed fewer strides to cover the distances.

"He had 41 steps usually [over 100m] and the other guys are 44, 45, some of the shorter ones are up in the high 40s," Weyand added.

"Particularly over 200 metres, the step numbers are directly related to fatiguing. If you go through fewer steps and fewer intense muscular contractions to put force into the ground, you have a fatigue-sparing effect."

Unique, but not perfect

Given he was able to accelerate out of the blocks quickly – relatively for his height – and was able to use his frame to generate more force across fewer strides, Bolt might have looked like the perfect sprinter.

But Weyand argued: "You can make a case that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the best female sprinter ever and she's 5ft tall.

"There are trade-offs in terms of being forceful when you accelerate versus having more contact time at your top-end speed."

Will Bolt's WR ever be broken?

No current athlete looks close to eclipsing Bolt's time in the near future, but that does not mean his record time will stand forever.

In 2008, marathon runner and biology professor Mark Denny conducted research and predicted the fastest possible time a male sprinter could run is 9.48secs.

"Nothing's ever perfect, Bolt's obviously a unique athlete but no race is perfect and no set of circumstances are perfect," Weyand said.

"Certainly faster than 9.58 [is possible] but that's a question that's hard to answer without being pretty speculative."

The only thing that is certain is for now – as has been the case for the previous 10 years too – the title of 'the fastest man on earth' belongs to Bolt.

Rising United States sprinting talent Noah Lyles has admitted legendary Jamaica sprinter Usain Bolt was right to question his championship mettle but hopes to silence all doubters at the upcoming IAAF World Championships.

The 22-year-old Lyles has recently featured prominently among the handful of names labeled as potentially next in line to inherit the throne vacated by the big Jamaican.

 To add fuel to the fire, Lyles recently clocked an impressive 19.50, the fourth-fastest time in the event’s history, in Lausanne, Switzerland last month.  While admitting that Lyles was unquestionably a huge talent, Bolt insisted he was waiting to see such performances replicated on the big stage.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him run, I’ve seen him compete,” Bolt told the New York Times.

“Last season he was doing a lot of good things, this season he has started off good. But as I said, it all comes down to the championship. Is he confident to come into a race after running three races and show up? For me, he has shown that he has talent, but when the championship comes, we will see what happens,” he added.

Lyles is yet to compete at a major championship and is also a threat over 100m but dropped the event from his schedule at the United States national championship to ensure full focus on the 200m.

“Sounds about right to me, sounds like my thoughts exactly,” Lyles said when shown the Bolt’s comments.

“It’s why I decided to run one event this year.”

Sometimes after a particularly grueling workout, sprinter Justin Gatlin will turn to his younger training partners and inquire: "Are you sore, too?" 

Reigning 100m World Champions Omar McLeod believes former world’s fastest man Usain Bolt was well within his rights to defend longtime coach Glen Mills.

The decorated Olympian and sprint icon set off a social media storm in recent weeks when he was highly critical of the work attitude of some of the current crop of sprinters, following criticism of veteran coach Mills.

  In recent weeks, multiple athletes affiliated to the Racers Track Club had written social media pieces critical of the coach and the operation of the now-famous club.  In a terse response, Bolt suggested that the athletes had only themselves to blame for any lack of success, accusing them of not working hard enough.  While admitting that he did not know enough about the issue, McLeod claims to understand the sprinter’s defense of the coach.   

“I don’t know about what happened in-depth, I’ve seen the interview.  I’m really happy he made the decision to speak up for his coach.  It can be a thing when athletes don’t get what they want they try to point fingers and blame other people,” McLeod told Nuffin’ Long Athletics.

 “Nobody knows the extent of what happened, I don’t so I don’t want to speak of it but I just think it was good of him to come out and speak because he and his coach have had a really good career and I guess he is a father figure to Usain Bolt.”

The Jamaica International Invitational, the local meet where retired sprint king Usain Bolt once thrilled fans with outstanding performances, will not be held this year.

The meet, which has been held every year since 2004, often brought some of track and field’s biggest names to Jamaica soil.  In addition to Bolt, who set the meet’s respectable 100m record of 9.76 seconds in 2008 and 19.56 in the 200m two years later, Americans Jasmin Stowers, Carmelita Jeter and Kerron Clement have set some eye-popping marks.  In 2011 Jeter stopped the clock at 10.86 in the women’s 100m, Clement thrilled fans with his brisk 47.79 400m hurdles run in 2008 and Stowers set the mark of 12.39 in the women’s 100m hurdles in 2015.

Despite those glowing performances, the meet which was upgraded to an IAAF World Challenge event had struggled to secure funding in recent years.  According to organizers, the issue has led to the cancellation of the 2019 edition of the event, which was originally scheduled to take place at the National Stadium on May 4.  A message posted on jainvite.com the official page of the event confirmed its cancellation.  At this stage, the future of the Invitational remains unclear.

 

Usain Bolt, the eight-time Olympic gold medallist, it was announced on Tuesday, as the global spokesperson for the Bolt Mobility brand of personal electric scooters.

United States track and field legend Carl Lewis has insisted that it would be foolish not to question the records set by recently retired Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt but claims it was never anything personal.

The 57-year-old Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medallist, sparked a firestorm in 2008 when he suggested that the spectacular feats accomplished by Bolt might have been with the aim of performance-enhancing drugs.  Lewis pointed to major reductions in the sprinter’s times over 100m an event he first competed in, in 2007.  In his youth, Bolt became the first junior sprinter to run the 200m in under twenty seconds.

Lewis’ criticism sparked the ire of fans worldwide, many turning to accused him of envy.  The American’s cynical point of view did not escape Bolt himself who insisted he had lost all respect for the former sprinter. 

In a recent interview on ‘Undeniable with Dan Patrick’, however, Lewis stood by the controversial comments but insists the issue was never personal and spoke to the integrity of the sport.

“My thing was I didn’t accuse anyone of anything but what I said is that you have to question if someone drops that fast like that.  If you don’t then you are crazy or a fool or something, whatever I said,” Lewis said in the interview to be aired on A&T Audience Network.

“My issue with drugs has always been the brand.  Being a sport that people think is on drugs is bad for the brand.  I didn’t trust it (Bolt’s times) so I put it out there.  People asked me, ‘What are you saying?’, I already said what I said and there is nothing to change. I stand by it,” he added.

The 32-year-old Bolt still holds the world records for both the 100m and 200m sprints, blistering marks of 9.58 and 19.19 set in 2009 that have seemed untouchable for the past several years.

“Of course, I questioned that.  It doesn’t mean I’m saying he is on it (drugs) but we should question it…they should question anyone that does that kind of drop.  I didn’t say anywhere that he was on it.  I said we should question it because if you don’t it’s ridiculous.”

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