It’s that time again!! The World Championships are here once more and this time in Moscow, Russia. After the excitement of the last world championships in Daegu, South Korea it is safe to assume that this year it will be more action-packed.

To help everyone to join in on the action, a “Ones to Watch” list which includes top African athletes has been compiled below.

In no particular order, we begin with Nigeria’s very own Blessing Okagbare. Okagbare is going to be leading the Nigerian team to the Championships. Having had a bit of a setback in the final of the 100m at the Olympic Games last year in London, it is expected that she will try to rectify that in Moscow. She has already had a major start to the season by setting a new African record in the 100m with an outstanding time of 10.79 seconds.

This 24 year old would definitely be one to watch at Moscow as she intends to compete in three events – Long jump, 200m and 100m. As she is currently ranked Number 4 in the World for 100m, it is hoped that she will be able to finish with at least one medal.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

100m

London (GBR)

10.79

200m

Walnut (USA)

22.31

Long Jump

Monaco (MON)

7.00

Next is sub-50 400m athlete, Amantle Montsho of Botswana who recently turned 30 years old at the beginning of last month. Montsho will be returning this year as the defending champion in the 400m having won in Daegu two years ago.

Her season has also commenced to a positive beginning as she ran 49.33 seconds in Monaco earlier this year to set a new National and Diamond League record. Having withdrawn from the London Diamond League race to focus on these Championships, it is expected that she will be giving a 100% all the way through.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

400m

Monaco (MON)

49.33

Ethiopian 4 x World Championships Gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba will be competing only in the 10,000m. She has previously doubled up at the World Championships to run the 5,000m and 10,000m so it comes as a surprise that she has opted for only one event.

Coming from a family of athletes, 27 year old Dibaba has proved amazing skill over the years in long distance races. At the Great Manchester Run this year, she set a course record and won the race in a personal best time of 30.49 minutes.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

10 000m

Ostrava (CZR)

30.26.67

The 25 year-old Ivory Coast’s athlete, Murielle Ahoure, has started this season excellently as well and has set a new National Record of 22.24 seconds in the 200m. If she can execute such top form at Moscow in a couple of days she will most definitely be walking away with a medal in hand.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

100m

Sotteville (FRA)

10.91

200m

Monaco (MON)

22.24

On the men’s side, we have South African athlete Anaso Jobodwana. The 20 year old recently won both the 100m and 200m at the World Youth Games in Kazan, Russia. Although winning races is part of the deal, he has stated that he is not interested in breaking records but instead focusing on beating his personal best time.

He currently studies Physiotherapy abroad at Jackson State University, Mississippi and with a personal best time of 20.13seconds he recorded the fastest 200m time in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He comes across as very focused and not fazed by unnecessary pressure.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

100m

Kazan (RUS)

10.10

200m

Greensboro (USA)

20.13

Another 20 year old to watch out for is Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti. He is the Djibouti record holder over the 1500m and 3000m distances. He has already run the third fastest time this year for the 800m but might be competing only in the 1500m at Moscow.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

800m

Sollentuna (SWE)

1.43.63

1500m

Paris (FRA)

3.32.55

Kenya’s defending 1500m World Champion Asbel Kiprop will be making an appearance at the Championships and hopefully will successfully defend his title. Kiprop has a lot to prove this year after finishing last at the Olympic final last year due to injury. He has however run a breath-taking time of 3.27.72minutes this year making him the fourth fastest man in this distance.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

800m

Roma (ITA)

1.45.54

1500m

Monaco (MON)

3.27.72

Yenew Alamirew of Ethiopia is an excellent long distance runner with a great kick. This will be the first time this 23 year old athlete will be competing at the World Championships, although he has participated at the World Indoor Championships before in Turkey. With great tactics, there can be a chance for this young athlete to take on the exceptional Mo Farah in the 5000m.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

3000m

Doha (QTR)

7.32.64

5000m

Roma (ITA)

12.54.95

The 19 year-old Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya is in a league of his own in the 3000m steeplechase. After winning the World Junior Championships and beating two-time Olympic Champion Ezekiel Kemboi, it is safe to say that he is on the right path to finishing with a podium place. He has already run a personal best time of 8:01.16 this year.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

1500m

Hengelo (NED)

3.39.57

3000m S’chase

Shanghai (CHN)

8.01.16

Moroccan athlete Abdalaati Iguider who will be doubling up in the 1500m and 5000m has been chosen to captain the Men’s team. Returning from last year’s Olympic Games with a bronze medal in the 1500m and sixth place in the 3000m, he shows great promise. Hopefully, he has done sufficient training to allow him to medal in both events.

2013 Season’s Bests

Event

Venue

Performance

1500m

Shanghai (CHN)

3.33.29

Good luck to all of them.