The World Championships in Athletics that follow an Olympic Games can often have the feeling of “going into the office the morning after the work Christmas party”. A bit of a let down following the thrill of the main event.

Expectation | As at the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Mo Farah, the main hope for British glory. (Image | Daily Express)

Expectation | As at the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Mo Farah, the main hope for British glory. (Image | Daily Express)

All the effort that went into the preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games can drain an athlete, both physically and psychologically. Where do you go once you have climbed Mount Everest?

For the world’s premier track and field athletes, they head to Moscow for the 2013 World Championships. From a British perspective, this is not a meet to be anticipated with a great deal of confidence.

Of the trio that brought us that magic hour last summer, Jessica Ennis-Hill is absent with injury, while Greg Rutherford has suffered injury problems, and struggled for form all year. Only Mo Farah heads to Moscow looking like a potential world champion in waiting.

If anything, Farah appears to be in even better shape than he was when winning 5,000-metre and 10,000-metre glory in London. He appears to be Britain’s safest bet for a gold medal.

Slim pickings

Beyond that, British fans are hardly spoilt for choice. Christine Ohuruogu has been appointed Team GB captain, and steadily improved as the season has progressed.

She has a well-earned reputation for peaking at major championships, and with Olympic champion, Sanya Richards-Ross, missing from the event, Ohuruogu is a likely medallist, and a decent outside bet for gold.

Another strong medal hope is Perri Shakes-Drayton. She underwhelmed in the 400-metre hurdles at last year’s Olympics, but seems to have added a better temperament to her talent.

Having witnessed her run a superb personal best in the Olympic Stadium at the Anniversary Games, she looks ready to make the step up from possible to probable medallist. While Zuzana Hejnova remains the leader of the field, Shakes-Drayton should expect to be among the medals.

Two others with pedigree at the top level, Dai Greene and Robbie Grabarz, both have the capabilities to impress in Moscow, but Grabarz has been in fairly moribund form this season, and has had injury concerns.

Greene, the defending men’s 400-metre hurdles champion, has also suffered a truncated, injury-hit campaign. It cost him dearly at London 2012, and may well do the same in Russia, especially as speed endurance is pivotal to succeed in an event such as the 400-metre hurdles.


Is there hope elsewhere? The future of British track and field comes in the shape of Jessica Judd and James Dasaolu. Judd has been something of a revelation. Still only 18 years old, the 800-metre runner has already managed a sub-two-minute time, and appears to have a maturity that belies her age.

That said, Moscow will probably be more of a learning experience for her, with the benefit likely to be seen in years to come. However, if Judd if can run the 800 metres in under two minutes again, a bronze medal is not out of the question.

Dasaolu, 25, put the sprinting world on alert after running 9.91 seconds at this year’s British trials. Not only was it the second-fastest time ever put in by a UK sprinter, but it is also one of the quickest in the world this year, causing some to proclaim him as a strong medal hope in Moscow.

Despite his electric performance at the domestic trials, it would be a huge step for Dasaolu, who has no big-race pedigree, to finish in the top three. Even with Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake not lining up in Russia (the first two to drugs offences, the third because of injury), anything better than an appearance in the final should be regarded as a bonus for Dasaolu.

After the jubilation of the Olympics party, the hangover could be on its way. Forget “Super Saturday”. Anything more than four medals is likely to constitute a decent championships for Team GB.

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