Jamaica Seen as Only Threat to U.S.' Dominance at Track and Field Worlds

      August 12, 2011 11:08

      The U.S. has finalized its list of 129 athletes, including 66 men and 63 women, for the 13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, which will be held in Daegu from Aug. 27 to Sep. 4.

      The U.S. will compete in 46 of the 47 disciplines, the only exception being the men's 50km race walking. The athletes will begin arriving in the southeastern city from Saturday. They will stay at the Hotel Inter-Burgo and train at Daegu Civic Stadium.

      The delegation, including coaches and officials, is scheduled to move into the athletes' village just before the opening ceremony.

      The U.S. topped the medal table at the last world in Berlin in 2009 with 10 gold, six silver and six bronze medals. Its dominance at the event is such that it has finished first at nine of the last 12 editions of the track and field showcase. The other times, it finished second.

      Americans have now collected a total of 120 gold medals, far above their closest competitors in Russia, who have amassed 37. Kenya, known for its long-distance runners, is third overall with 31.

      The U.S. is confident it will race to the top of the table again this year, as it has eight defending world champions, 19 medalists at the World Championships, and 16 Olympic medalists in this year's squad.

      Although star sprinter Tyson Gay will not be competing in Daegu due to injury, current world No.4 Michael Rodgers and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix will be challenging world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica in the blue-ribbon 100-meter dash.

      Rodgers' personal best is 9.85 seconds, whereas Dix has mustered 9.88 secs -- putting them far behind the 9.58 secs that Bolt clocked in Beijing in 2008.

      In the women's 100m, current world No.1 Carmelita Jeter is a strong gold-medal contender. She will also be chasing the title in the 200m, with teammate Shalonda Solomon considered her main challenger.

      Jamaica is perhaps the only country that can threaten the U.S on the track. In the last worlds, the Caribbean nation finished second overall with seven gold medals thanks to its prowess in the short-distance sprints.

      Kenya and Ethiopia, who are expected to dominate the marathon and mid and long-distance running disciplines, are also serious contenders for medals. Meanwhile, Russia's women are expected to keep their vice-like grip on a number of field events including the pole vault.

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