AW promotion: how will British athletes fare when tackling the triple crown of major champs in coming months?
After a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Athletics Championships take place from July 15-24. Oregon in the USA will be hosting the event. For British athletes the delay has created a situation where 2022 is going to be their busiest year ever.
It’s not just a case of competing in the 2022 World Athletics Championships, far from it. There’s also the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England from July 28-August 8. Just a week after that the European Championships take place in Munich, Germany from August 15-21.
Just how will athletes handle such a schedule as this? Can they compete in all three or will they opt to take part in just two of them? Before the World Championship, athletes have a busy schedule of Diamond League meetings. Those can be very lucrative financially so aren’t just an opportunity to warm up for the Worlds.
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There will be two British athletes defending world titles in Oregon. Katarina Johnson-Thompson won the heptathlon title in Doha three years ago. The other British gold medal success came from Dina Asher-Smith, who won the 200m title. That followed up the 100m silver medal that she’d already won.
Sometimes in sport, injuries happen at just the worst possible time. That was the case for Asher-Smith when suffering a hamstring injury at the Tokyo Olympics. A relay bronze was won but that was way short of her expectations going into the championships. Back fully fit, what can we expect from her in Oregon in July?
The pressure will be on the Orpington athlete. One world title to defend and the hope will be that May and June will see her put in some impressive performances during the Diamond League. If she is to peak this season, then surely it must be in Oregon.
Then will come the decision whether to compete at the Commonwealth Games. Any English athlete will want to be able to compete in their home games. That’s even more the case when there’s an excellent chance of winning a medal. With the European Championships just around the corner, it will be interesting to see how many British athletes opt to take part in the Commonwealth Games.
Those who don’t fare too well in Oregon may well decide to take part in the other two games. If having a great World Championships though, perhaps just one of the two will be competed at.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be a hectic period for the sport of athletics. The schedule is most likely a one-off though. It’s just a relief that we did manage to get the Tokyo Olympics completed last year, rather than those being moved to 2022 as well!