World Athletics 2011: Will Daegu be Britain’s best ever?

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Ennis keyed up for title defence

At global athletics meetings, we should never be surprised if there are surprises.

Every time I'm at an Olympics or World Championships I think there can't possibly be so many biographies to prepare from scratch, but every year there are.

And while being fun to do, it makes the predictions business a difficult one.

But I think it's a real possibility that each of Great Britain's "fantastic four" - heptathlete Jessica Ennis, 10,000m runner Mo Farah, 400m hurdler Dai Greene and Phillips Idowu in the triple jump - could come away with a gold medal.

And it is not just me saying that - the American bible of the sport, Track & Field News, has put those four on top of its list of predictions.

Such an outcome would make Daegu Britain's greatest-ever World Championships, beating the three golds won in 1993.

Phillips Idowu
Triple jumper Phillips Idowu: One of Britain's best hopes of Daegu gold

I would say that there is a second group who are in range of a medal, but for whom a top-six placing would also be regarded as respectable given the formidable opposition in their events.

These are Lisa Dobriskey (1500m), Jenny Meadows (800m), Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson (both long jump), Perri Shakes-Drayton (400m hurdles), Tiffany Ofili-Porter (100m hurdles) and Goldie Sayers (javelin).

I am expecting all of these to at least reach their finals.

And let's hope that someone not listed above can produce a breakthrough, just as sprint hurdler William Sharman managed with his fourth place in Berlin two years ago. It is moments like that which I enjoy the most at these big championships.

I am not so optimistic for GB in the relays, though, where they have so often picked up bonus medals. I reckon the US and Jamaica have locked up two of the three podium places across all four races.

Britain's 100m and 400m men and women are not firing on all cylinders this year, but they will need to do so in order to displace say, Trinidad or Japan in the men's 4x100m or Russia in either of the 4x400m relays.

Back in the individual events, these World Championships pose lots of interesting questions: Are 100m star Usain Bolt, distance-running legend Kenenisa Bekele and pole vaulter Yelena Isinbaeva back to their best?

Who will win when history's three fastest high hurdlers - Cuba's Dayron Robles, Liu Xiang of China and American David Oliver - go head-to-head-to-head?

Can South Africans Caster Semenya and Oscar Pistorius outrun their respective controversies?

And will we see the first ever 80m hammer throw by a woman? I could go on, but instead here are my predictions of gold medallists:

Men

100m: Usain Bolt JAM

200m: Usain Bolt JAM

400m: Kirani James GRN

800m: Adam Kszczot POL

1500m: Silas Kiplagat KEN

5000m: Dejene Gebremeskel ETH

10,000m: Mohamed Farah GBR

Marathon: Stephen Kiprotich UGA

3000m Steeplechase: Brimin Kipruto KEN

110m Hurdles: Liu Xiang CHN

400m Hurdles: David Greene GBR

High Jump: Mutaz Essa Barshim QAT

Pole Vault: Paweł Wojciechowski POL

Long Jump: Mitchell Watt AUS

Triple Jump: Phillips Idowu GBR

Shot Put: Christian Cantwell USA

Discus: Zoltan Kővágó HUN

Hammer: Nicola Vizzoni ITA

Javelin: Andreas Thorkildsen NOR

Decathlon: Ashton Eaton USA

20km Walk: Valeriy Borchin RUS

50km Walk: Yohann Diniz FRA

4x100m Relay: Trinidad

4x400m Relay: Bahamas

Women

100m: Veronica Campbell-Brown JAM

200m: Allyson Felix USA

400m: Amantle Montsho BOT

800m: Caster Semenya RSA

1500m: Aslı Çakir TUR

5000m: Vivian Cheruiyot KEN

10,000m: Vivian Cheruiyot KEN

Marathon: Edna Kiplagat KEN

3000m Steeplechase: Milka Chemos KEN

100m Hurdles: Sally Pearson AUS

400m Hurdles: Melaine Walker JAM

High Jump: Anna Chicherova RUS

Pole Vault: Martina Strutz GER

Long Jump: Brittney Reese USA

Triple Jump: Katerina Ibargüen COL

Shot Put: Valerie Adams NZL

Discus: Yarelis Barrios CUB

Hammer: Betty Heidler GER

Javelin: Christina Obergföll GER

Heptathlon: Jessica Ennis GBR

20km: Olga Kaniskina RUS

4x100m Relay: Jamaica

4x400m Relay: USA

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