#Doha2019: Nine Caribbean athletes the world is watching

From left: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas and Yohan Blake.

We are nine days away from the most anticipated IAAF World Championships in recent memory. The eyes of the world will be fixed on the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 at the Qatari capital’s Khalifa Stadium from 27 September until 6 October. Track and Field’s star boy Usain Bolt has retired and the sport is in desperate need of a breakout start to ignite a spark.

Added to the anticipation is the addition of a new event — the mixed 4×4 relays — and the fact that the games have been switched from July to September. All in all, there is strong pool of talent coming out of the Caribbean that the world is watching keenly to see how they will deliver on the big stage.

#1 Pocket Rocket, make that Mommy Rocket — Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

After coming back from maternity leave, Shelly-Ann has found her stride and is heading into the Championships with the joint-fastest time in the Women’s 100m (10.73). She is down to do the double and is hungry to repeat her 2013 success of being double world champion. She is many pundits favourite to win the women’s 100-metre but was second in her last 100-metre race at the Diamond League Final.

#2 Elaine Thompson

The double Olympic Champion has shown the kind of form this season that brought her those two titles in 2016. She looks to have finally overcome that niggling Achilles injury and was impressive in the early season. She has the joint-fastest time in the women’s 100m (10.73) with Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and the second-fastest time in women’s 200m (22.00). She is only bested by Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo who will not be competing in this event at the championships. She most definitely wants to overcome the disappointment of not medaling at the 2017 championships in London, while sending a message about her intentions to defend her Olympic titles next year in Tokyo.

#3 Shaunae Miller-Uibo (The Bahamas)

The Olympic champion had a disappointing outing in 2017 after she tried to do the 200m/400m double but she has been nothing but spectacular since. She has not lost a race all season and is the world leader in both the 200m (21.74) and 400m (49.05).  In her last race of the season before the championships, Shaunae claimed her third Diamond Trophy in three years in the women’s 200m with a Diamond League record of 21.74.

#4 Danielle Williams

The 2015 100 metre hurdles World Champion has hit a new gear this season. After much controversy at the Jamaican National Trials, she has stamped her class on the event all season. Many feel the world record is under threat should she continue in the kind of form she has been in. After a superb season, Danielle became only the second non-American woman to claim the Diamond Trophy in the sprint hurdles with her victory in Brussels two weeks ago. She has the world-leading time in the event of 12.32.

#5 Shanieka Ricketts

It has been a breakout season for Shanieka Ricketts, the likes of which some athletes only dream about but never achieve. She is living the dream, though, and showed real guts in claiming her first major Intentional title when she won the Women’s Triple Jump. In doing so she claimed a first career Diamond Trophy, with a PB of 14.93m. She will be looking to add the Wold Championship title to cap a fairy tale season.

#6 Omar McLeod

World and Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod has had a mixed season thus far, but is hoping his return to form of late will result in him retaining his title. The defending champion’s season best(13.12) ranks him 4th in the world but unlike the three men ranked above him, his time came in September and theirs were in early June and July. He has yet to dip under 13 seconds this season and may need to come close to his 12.90 PB to be in medals. Many pundits have him off the podium and out of the medals but don’t count him out just yet.

# Fredrick Dacres

Fredrick Dacres is living up to the promise he showed as a junior and is having the best season of his career. The 25-year-old smashed the Jamaican National record with a 70.78m throw in early June. He’s ranked second in the world. Dares has proven himself to be a championship performer and will be looking to go at least one better than his fourth-place finish in 2017. Ideally, he will be aiming to add the World Championship title to his Commonwealth Games title from 2018.

#8 Steven Gardiner (The Bahamas)

The men’s 400 will be one of, if not the most hotly contested event of the championships, and Steven Gardiner is planning on spoiling the party for the Americans who have dominated the event all season. Steve continues to improve with each race and has shown that he is peaking at the right time with his season’s best (44.14) coming just this week. That time ranks him third in the world behind the top two Americans. It would be foolish of anyone to call the medals for this event but the pundits have him among the medals.

#9 Yohan Blake

Yes, he made the list. The 2011 champion has been a shadow of his former self but has shown this year that he still has some running left in him. Once seen as the heir to the throne after Usian left the sport, Blake has been nothing near his best since coming back from injury. This season he has shown much promise while beating top ranked fields. He has a lot to prove at this Championships. He is ranked 9th in the world with his season best 9.96 and will need to rediscover his old self to be anywhere near the medals. He has won before and knows what it takes to win thus the eyes of the world are watching him.