The women's 100-meter hurdles is one of the most highly-anticipated events in this year's World Championships, with many eager to see the first showdown between the defending World and Olympic champion, Sally Pearson of Australia, and the new American sensation, Brianna Rollins. The pair can't go head-to-head until the final, but they posted the top two times during Friday morning's heats, with Rollins taking her heat in 12.55 seconds, and Pearson winning hers in 12.62. Pearson battled injuries earlier this year, and Friday's performance was a promising season's best. But we'll have to wait and see if she's recovered sufficiently to deliver the extra speed she'll require in the next two rounds.
The reason is understandable, but it's still odd to see Usain Bolt toward the bottom of the overall list of qualifying times from Friday morning's 200-meter heats. Twenty runners were faster than Bolt's 20.66 seconds, but Bolt wasn't challenged in his heat, so he did only as much as necessary to win the race. All of the other top contenders advanced to Friday afternoon's semifinals as well. Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa and Great Britain's Adam Gemili topped the charts by running 20.17 apiece, with the latter posting a personal best.
Either javelin's automatic qualifying standard of 61.50 meters was too low, or the throwers were simply exceptional Friday morning, as 11 women topped the automatic standard. Many competitors were certainly at their best, as those top 11 throwers combined to set two national records, one personal best and three season bests. Russia's defending World champion, Maria Abakumova, led the way by throwing 69.09 meters (226 feet, 8 inches). Australia's Kimberley Mickle was next in a personal best 65.73/215-7. Setting national marks were Serbia's Tatjana Jelaca (62.68/205-7) and Sofi Flinck of Sweden (61.96/203-3). The final is set for Sunday.
French triple jumper Teddy Tamgho seems ready to bid for his first outdoor global medal after battling injuries during the past two years. The 2010 World Indoor champ led five jumpers past the 17.05-meter automatic qualifying mark on Friday, leaping 17.71/58-1¼ on his second attempt. Fellow Frenchman Yoann Rapinier, Americans Christian Taylor and Will Claye, plus Pedro Pichardo of Cuba also topped the 17.05 standard. Italy's Daniele Greco did not compete due to injury. The final is set for Sunday.
Russia topped the qualifying times in the women's 4 x 400-meter relay heats, as Yulia Gushchina, Tatyana Firova, Natalya Antyukh and Kseniya Ryzhova finished in 3:23.51 to win the third heat. The British team - with Eilidh Child, Shana Cox, Margaret Adeoye and 400-meter champion Christine Ohuruogu - won the second heat in 3:25.39. The American quartet of Ashley Spencer, Jessica Beard, Joanna Atkins and Francena McCorory wasn't challenged in the initial heat, winning in 3:25.18. The U.S. can still add runners such as Allyson Felix and Natasha Hastings to its team for Saturday's final, while Russia can add 400-meter bronze medalist Antonina Krivoshapka, making those two nations the clear favorites. Jamaica, which placed second in the final heat, was disqualified from the competition after one of its competitors ran out of her lane.