Africa’s Top 6

African middle and long distance runners are second to none. It was hard to choose, but here are msafiri’s top six

World Athletics Championships
• Where: Moscow • When: 10-18 August 2013  Stadium: Luzhniki Stadium

1 David Rudisha
• Age: 24
• Country: Kenya
• Event: Men’s 800m
• Track record: Olympic 800m champion 2012, World 800m champion 2011
• Prospects: If it wasn’t for Usain Bolt, Kenya’s Rudisha would have been universally acclaimed as the athlete of the year in 2012. Rudisha is destined for more medals in Moscow – some say he will break his own World Record.

2 Vivian Cheruiyot
• Age: 29
• Country: Kenya
• Event: 5000m/10,000m
• Track record: Olympic silver 5000m 2012, Olympic bronze 10,000m 2012, 5000m and 10,000m world champion 2011, 5000m African champion 2010
• Prospects: Cheruiyot’s coach, Moses Kiplagat, insists she is determined to defend both her World Champion titles in the 5000 and 10,000m in Moscow.

3 Ezekiel Kemboi
• Age: 31
• Country: Kenya
• Event: 3000m steeplechase
• Track record: Olympic 3000m steeplecase champion 2012 and 2004, world champion 2009, 2011
• Prospects: Kemboi won a dramatic 3000m steeplechase final at London 2012 and is the defending world champion having also won in Daegu. He will be favourite to defend his title but faces tough competition this time.

4 Taofik Makhloufi
• Age: 25
• Country: Algeria
• Event: 1500m, 800m
• Track record: Olympic 1500m champion 2012
• Prospects: The Algerian ran a storming race in the final of the men’s 1500m in London and seems to be improving all the time. He set a new personal best in the 800m last August and may double up in Moscow. He will certainly be a challenger.

5 Tirunesh Dibaba
• Age: 27
• Country: Ethiopia
• Event: 10,000m
• Track record: Olympic 10,000m champion 2012 and 2008, Olympic 5000m champion 2008, world 5000m champion 2003, 2005, world 10,000m champion 2005, 2007
• Prospects: The Ethiopian star, nicknamed ‘the baby-faced destroyer’, won the women’s 10,000m in London (she was the first to win back-to-back Olympic 10,000m titles) and is the world 5000m record holder. She has recently switched to the roads, so can she maintain her focus?

6 Ibrahim Jeylan
• Age: 24
• Country: Ethiopia
• Event: 5000m, 10,000m
• Track record: 10,000m world champion 2001
• Prospects: You may have forgotten about Jeylan because he missed most of 2012 through injury and didn’t make the Olympics. But he’s back now and aiming to defend his title by beating big rival Mo Farah in Moscow in the 10,000m.

Home Stars
Every games produces a string of home heroes – you only have to look at London  2012 to see that. So, who will be the legends in the making for Russian fans?
1 Ivan Ukhov – Men’s high jump
The Russian won Olympic gold in London with a jump of 2.38m and is favourite again. He will be a huge home hero.
2 Anna Chicherova – Women’s high jump
Russia seem to specialise at the high jump – Chicherova also won in London and will be hot favourite to make it a double.
3 Mariya Savinova – Women’s 800m
The London 2012 champion (pictured above) will be hoping for gold again; and with the home crowd cheering her on she has a great chance.
4 Elena Isinbaeva – Women’s pole vault
The experienced Isinbaeva has been battling against injury, but if fit she’ll be dangerous. She only finished third in London but has won two Olympic golds and two World Championship golds in her time. If she did it again at the age of 30 it would be a huge story in Moscow.

Going for Gold
Predictions for the gold medal winners:
MEN 100m: Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 200m: Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 800m: David Rudisha (Kenya) 1500m: Asbel Kiprop (Kenya) 5000m: Mo Farah (GB) 10,000m: Ibrahim Jeylan (Ethiopia) 3000m steeplechase: Ezekiel Kemboi (Kenya) Marathon: Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) Decathlon: Ashton Eaton (USA)

WOMEN 100m: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) 200m: Allyson Felix (USA) 800m: Mariya Savinova (Russia) 1500m: Asli Cakir Alptekin (Turkey) Heptathlon: Tatyana Chernova (Russia) 5000m: Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (Kenya) 10,000m: Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) Marathon: Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya)