5 Things To Watch This Weekend (Hopefully You’re Not Too Tied Up By Wimbledon Or That Soccer Thingie)

Ronnie Baker beat Christian Coleman in the Eugene DL 100 (and Rome too). What will Rabat bring? (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

The eyes of the track world will be looking in 3 different directions this weekend: Rabat, Tampere, and London. Here’s a sneak peek at 5 things worth a good look:

1. Rabat Men’s 100: Coleman’s Return

World Indoor 60 champ Christian Coleman will be back in action after taking a break to tend to a tender hamstring. And he’s not taking the easy road back into competition. In starting off at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Coleman will be taking on co-world leaders Noah Lyles and Ronnie Baker, both at 9.88. For good measure, there will be a fourth American in the middle of the track; quick-starting Mike Rodgers isn’t far behind at 9.89. This is the sort of race that typically figures prominently in our end-of-season World Rankings.

2. Rabat Women’s 1000: A Semenya Record Attempt?

On Friday, Caster Semenya will try to put her name on the World Record list. She ran a world-leading 2:35.43 kilo in Pretoria in March, but that left her a long way to go before she threatens Svetlana Masterkova’s WR of 2:28.98 from ’96, or even Maria Mutola’s African Record of 2:29.34 (’95). But after moving to No. 4 all-time with her recent front-running 1:54.25 in the 800, Semenya looks to be ready both mentally and physically.

3. Rabat Women’s 5000: Dibaba vs. Obiri

Genzebe Dibaba against Hellen Obiri should be a good match. They’ve only raced twice, and their score is 1-1. Throw in Sifan Hassan, Molly Huddle and a line-up of other biggies, and we might see a dazzling contest. Huddle might even be in AR shape, having looked particularly impressive in Des Moines. We would love to see Shelby Houlihan in this one, but she’s back in training, focused next on a fast 5000 in Belgium on July 21.

4. World Junior Championships: The Whole Thing

With 3 days remaining in Tampere, some great highlights await fans. On Friday, Kenya’s Celliphine Chespol should dominate the steeple. In the 200, JUCO champ Khance Meyers (20.02w) will try to upend Britain’s Charles Dobson (20.53). Saturday will bring a strong slate of finals topped by the 4 x 100 relays. Can Mondo Duplantis raise his own World Junior Record in the vault? Sunday offers 9 finals, concluding with the 4x4s. All-in-all, a fun look into the sport’s future.

5. World Cup: The Whole Thing

London last hosted the original World Cup in ’94. Since then, the IAAF event has transmogrified into the Continental Cup and has struggled to gain traction with fans. The nation-based London event is distinct from the IAAF’s, and backers are investing a lot of money in the notion that British fans still want to see a straight-up scoring match between what are being promoted as the world’s top 8 track powers—China, France, Germany, Britain, Jamaica, Poland, South Africa & USA (“Authorized Neutral Athletes” need not apply).

A complete set of fields has not been published at this writing, though we expect to see some great matchups, despite a lot of high-profile defections. Notable is that Caster Semenya, coming back from her Rabat race, is scheduled run the 800 and 1500, for 3 straight days of racing. [Note: after winning in Rabat on Friday Semenya said she would not be running in London, and said she had never committed to doing so in the first place.] In the hammer, new AR claimant DeAnna Price will get a chance to challenge WR holder Anita Włodarczyk of Poland.