STAR’s World Championships top three picks
Starting tomorrow and for the next nine days, attention in the world of sports will be on Budapest in Hungary as the top track and field athletes lock horns in what is expected to be a thrilling and epic World Athletics Championships.
As usual, STAR Sports tries to predict the top three finishes in events featuring Jamaica.
Undoubtedly, the women's 100 metres is the most talked-about event leading up to the Championships. Fireworks are expected as five-time defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica will be involved in a mega clash.
She will take on three athletes who are ranked ahead of her going into the Championships, compatriot Shericka Jackson with 10.65 seconds, the United States of America's (USA) Sha'Carri Richardson with 10.71, and Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou with 10.75s. Do not count out Julien Alfred of St Lucia and Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain, who are brilliant starters.
Fraser-Pryce, who started preparations late this season because of a knee injury and competed only twice in the event, will be under pressure to deliver. It will be an acid test for the defending champion, who has a season best of 10.83 seconds and could finish out of the medals.
TOP THREE: Richardson, Jackson, Ta Lou
Despite being the world leader with 21.60 seconds in winning the USA Trials, Gabby Thomas has a mountain to climb if she hopes to win.
Defending champion Jackson, with a season best of 21.71 seconds and the fastest woman alive with 21.45 seconds in winning in Eugene last year, will be on world-record watch as she is expected to win on a canter.
TOP THREE: Jackson, Thomas, Richardson
With the late withdrawal of USA's Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, favourite the Dominican Republic's Marileidy Paulino, the only athlete apart from McLaughlin-Levrone under 49 seconds, with a season best of 48.99 and who was second in Eugene last year, is expected to win.
Interesting entries in the event are defending champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas, who had her first child four months ago, and Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain, a former champion who is back after a two-year suspension for whereabouts violation.
TOP THREE: Paulino, Natalia Kaczmarek (Poland), Britton Wilson (USA)
After her best season leading up to a major championships, Jamaica's Natoya Goule-Toppin will be hoping for a top-three finish and write her name in history as the first Jamaican, man or woman, to medal at the World Championships.
A new champion will be crowned as the USA's Athing Mu will not face the starter. After a close second to Mu last year, world leader Great Britain's Keely Hodgkinson, with a best of 1:55.77 minutes, should go all the way.
TOP THREE: Hodgkinson, Mary Moraa (Kenya), Jemma Reekie (Great Britain)
100 METRES HURDLES
There are doubts surrounding Tobi Amusan of Nigeria, the defending champion, with the AIU, on the eve of the Championships, still to decide on her missing whereabouts violation.
A year ago, Jamaica picked up silver through the talented Britany Anderson, who has been out this season because of an injury, but in Megan Tapper, Ackera Nugent and Danielle Williams, the country has three outstanding representatives.
TOP THREE: Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Puerto Rico), Nia Ali (USA), Kendra Harrison (USA)
400 METRES HURDLES
A new champion will be crowned as defending champion and world record holder McLaughlin-Levrone of the USA will not defend her title.
TOP THREE: Femke Bol (the Netherlands), Shamier Little (USA), Janieve Russell (Jamaica)
Ackelia Smith of Jamaica is the world leader with 7.08 metres and hopes to give the country a first-ever medal in the event.
TOP THREE: Tara Davis-Woodhall (USA), Quanesha Burks (USA), Agate De Sousa (Sao Tome & Principe)
Shanieka Ricketts will be hoping for back-to-back silver, but has not been at her best this season and will have to strike when it matters most.
TOP THREE: Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela), Liadagmis Povea (Cuba), Leyanis Perez Hernandez (Cuba)
Ranked No. 5, Danniel Thomas-Dodd will be hoping for a top-three finish.
TOP THREE: Maggie Ewen (USA), Chase Ealey (USA), Lijiao Gong (China)
4x100 METRES RELAY
Jamaica should make up for finishing a disappointing second last year, as they are expected to go all the way.
TOP THREE: Jamaica, USA, Great Britain
TOP THREE: USA, Netherlands, Jamaica
PROJECTED MEDALS FOR WOMEN
Five - two gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze
Except for Paris in 2003, when Kim Collins won the men's 100 metres, the event has been dominated by the USA and Jamaica, and this trend is expected to continue in Budapest.
Fred Kerley with a season-best of 9.88 seconds and who led a USA 1-2-3 last year in Eugene, will be hoping to defend his title successfully in a very wide-open affair.
World leader Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain, with 9.83 seconds, and Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya, with 9.84 seconds, hope to continue their good form.
Hughes and Oblique Seville, of Jamaica, hope to give sprint coach guru Glen Mills his sixth win in the event, following up in the footsteps of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
TOP THREE: Kerley (USA), Hughes, Letsile Tebogo (Botswana)
It will be interesting to see if defending champion Noah Lyles of the USA can deliver on his promise, posted to his Instagram page, to run 19.10 seconds and break Bolt's world record of 19.19.
TOP THREE: Lyles, Tebogo, Erriyon Knighton (USA)
A new champion will be crowned, with USA's Michael Norman pulling out.
Former champions Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas, the world leader with 43.74 seconds and Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa with a season-best 44.08 look set to fight out the finish, with Gardiner getting the edge.
Sean Bailey and Antonio Watson of Jamaica will be hoping to get a medal for Jamaica's third in the event, following gold by Bertland Cameron in Helsinki and Gregory Haughton with bronze in Edmonton.
TOP THREE: Gardiner, van Niekerk, Bryce Deadmon (USA)
110 METRES HURDLES
The USA's Grant Holloway seeks to make it three wins in a row, but Jamaica's Rasheed Broadbell is standing in his way.
A semi-finalist in the event last year and with a world lead of 12.94 seconds in winning at the National Championships, Broadbell is one of two athletes to have beaten Holloway over the past three years.
The other is another Jamaican Hansle Parchment, who hopes to make up for his disappointment in Eugene after his injury just before the start of the final, resulting in him missing the event.
TOP THREE: Broadbell, Holloway, Cordell Tinch (USA)
400 METRES HURDLES
The three fastest men in the event will clash, including defending champion Alison dos Santos of Brazil, who is coming off a crucial injury; world record holder Karsten Warholm of Norway; and Rai Benjamin of the USA.
Warholm, who was seventh last year, has the leading time of 46.51 seconds and should reclaim his title, while a good run is expected from teenager Roshawn Clarke of Jamaica, the joint world under-20 record holder with 47.85.
TOP THREE: Warholm, Benjamin, dos Santos
Doha champion Tajay Gayle will be Jamaica's best hope in the event for a medal once he overcomes his issues of overstepping the take-off board.
TOP THREE: Miltiadis Tentoglou (Greece), Jeswin Aldri (India), Gayle
At only 18 years of age, it could be an exciting debut World Championships for Jaydon Hibbert of Jamaica. The world leader with 17.87 metres, Hibbert hopes to repel the challenges of defending champion Pedro Pichardo of Portugal and Hughes Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso, the silver medallist.
Since his wind-aided 17.91 metres in May, Pichardo has been missing.
Despite the experience of his two main rivals, Hibbert should get the better of both for a historic win and could go over the 18 metres barrier.
TOP THREE: Hibbert, Pichardo, Zango
4x100 METRES RELAY
With four athletes under 10 seconds, led by Ackeem Blake's 9.89 seconds, Jamaica should be among the medals and are expected to have a keen tussle with the USA and defending champions Canada for the gold.
TOP THREE USA, Jamaica, Canada
A Jamaica quartet of Rusheen McDonald, Sean Bailey, Antonio Watson and Jevaughn Powell will present Jamaica's best chance to topple the defending champions, the USA, at the global level, with both looking evenly matched.
TOP THREE: USA, Jamaica, Belgium
MEN'S MEDAL PROJECTION
Five - two gold, one silver, two bronze
THE OVERALL MEDAL TALLY FOR JAMAICA IS 10
Four gold, three silver and three bronze