SPEED Rankings #4- Men

These are the final rankings before the World Championships.  As we await picks and predictions from experts, enjoy the unscientific and arbitrary  SPEED Rankings!

Men

100m

  1. Usain Bolt (Jam)
  2. Asafa Powell (Jam)
  3. Walter Dix (Usa)
  4. Yohan Blake (Jam)
  5. Nesta Carter (Jam)

If I posted these rankings last week, I would have Bolt behind Powell, but Powell’s withdrawal from London was important for a couple of reasons:

1)   If Powell’s absence was actually due to injury (and there is some disagreement over it), then it obviously isn’t the ideal way to head into the World Championships.

2)   If Powell raced well, then he would have all the momentum and a psychological edge over Bolt.  For an athlete like Powell that has a history of big meet troubles, any advantage he can garner is important.

In Powell’s absence, Blake won in London and jumps back on the rankings.  I was worried about including Nesta Carter because he wasn’t even on the Jamaican team for Daegu, but then this happened.

200m

  1. Usain Bolt (Jam)
  2. Walter Dix (Usa)
  3. Nickel Ashmeade (Jam)
  4. Christophe Lemaitre (Fra)
  5. Jaysuma Ndure(Nor)

The most uninteresting event on the track got even blander once Steve Mullings’ positive drug test was revealed.  Bolt and Dix have each had a series of easy victories over the summer, but haven’t faced each other in the 200 this year.

400m

  1. Lashawn Merritt (Usa)
  2. Kirani James (Grn)
  3. Jermaine Gonzalez (Jam)
  4. Chris Brown (Bah)
  5. Tony McQuay (Usa)

This event looked very murky just a few weeks ago, and despite the lack of a clear favorite, I feel pretty good about this top 5.  Merritt made his return from a 21-month suspension and finished a close 2nd to Gonzalez in Stockholm.  I am assuming he will be much improved in Daegu, and thus his #1 ranking.  James seems to have navigated the tricky task of peaking both for the NCAA Championships and the World Championships. The wildcard is McQuay who hasn’t raced since the USA Championships at the end of June but narrowly lost to James at the NCAA Championships.

800m

  1. David Rudisha (Ken)
  2. Abubaker Kaki (Sud)
  3. Boaz Lalang (Ken)
  4. Asbel Kiprop (Ken)
  5. Nick Symmonds (Usa)

The thrilling London race between Rudisha and Kaki could have been a preview of Daegu, however the race dynamics will change with no rabbit.  Neither Rudisha nor Kaki has fared well in championship rounds, but they are so much better than whoever is the 3rd best it shouldn’t matter.  Lalang was that 3rd man in London, but he didn’t make the Kenyan team for the World Championships.

1,500m

  1. Silas Kiplagat (Ken)
  2. Amine Laalou (Mar)
  3. Asbel Kiprop (Ken)
  4. Nixon Chepseba (Ken)
  5. Nick Willis (Nzl)

Kiplagat is the hottest going into Daegu as Laalou has gone dark after his win in Paris.  Still not sure if Chepseba is on the Kenyan team.

5,000m

  1. Mo Farah (Gbr)
  2. Bernard Lagat (Usa)
  3. Imane Merga (Eth)
  4. Isiah Koech (Ken)
  5. Thomas Longosiwa (Ken)

No changes here.  Lagat and Farah were both impressive in their dress rehearsals in London.  As of now, Merga is not running the 5,000 and Farah has said that his focus is the 10,000.  I would guess that both end up running the 5,000, but if they don’t the door opens for the Kenyans.  Conspicuously absent is the defending champion and world record-holding Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.  Bekele has yet to race this season, but has a wild card entry for Daegu.

10,000m

1.  Mo Farah (Gbr)

2.  Imane Merga (Eth)

3.  Peter Kirui (Ken)

4.  Zersenay Tadese (Eri)

5.  Galen Rupp (Usa)

Farah is unbeaten outdoors on the track this year and will be a heavy favorite in this event.  He has beaten Merga once in the 10,000 and twice in the 5,000 in 2011.  The Kenyan contingent isn’t as heralded as it usually is, but their top three has to be respected.

110 Hurdles

1.  Dayron Robles (Cub)

2.  Liu Xiang (Chi)

3.  Jason Richardson (Usa)

4.  David Oliver (Usa)

5.  Dwight Thomas (Jam)

Oliver is no longer even the top American after losing in Stockholm and London to Richardson.  Robles was superb in London and appears to be clear of an injury issues.  Xiang hasn’t surfaced in several weeks and may be in great form or he may not.  Is there a better jumping tandem that shares the same name in sports history?

400 Hurdles

1.  Angelo Taylor (Usa)

2.  Bershawn Jackson (Usa)

3.  David Greene (Gbr)

4.  L.J. Van Zyl (Rsa)

5.  Jeshua Anderson (Usa)

This event wasn’t on the program in Stockholm and didn’t have the big names in London.  Taylor and Jackson are pretty steady, but the prospects of Van Zyl and Anderson are much more ambiguous.

3,000 m Steeplechase

1.  Brimin Kipruto (Ken)

2.  Ezekiel Kemboi (Ken)

3.  Paul Koech (Ken)

4.  Mekhissi Benabbad-Mahiedine (Fra)

5.  Richard Mateelong (Ken)

Kemboi has reported to the mandated pre-World Championships training camp, but it is still unclear if Koech will be placed on the Kenyan team.  Who knew steeplers would be so much drama?

2 responses to “SPEED Rankings #4- Men

  1. What, no love for my homeboy Leonel Manzano? Yeah, he’s a little inconsistent, but that London win was pretty thrilling.