DAEGU, South Korea, (Reuters) – Pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva and 800m world record holder David Rudisha take centre stage at the world athletics championships today — and both could be forgiven for hoping they do not appear on the cover of the official programme for the Daegu event.
On all three days of competition so far, the athletes who featured prominently as cover stars suffered ignominious exits that day.
On day one Australian Olympic and defending world pole vault champion Steve Hooker featured, and swiftly exited without even completing one successful jump.
Day two’s cover showcased Usain Bolt and the world’s fastest man was promptly disqualified in the 100 metres final for a false start.
Yesterday was the turn of Dayron Robles who at least got to the end of his race — before having gold taken away for jostling China’s Liu Xiang in the 110 metres hurdles final in what is swiftly being dubbed “the curse of the cover”.
Russia’s Isinbayeva should at least get in the air, and is favourite to win back the title she claimed in 2005 and 2007.
Although America’s Jenn Suhr, in great form, is expected to run her close.
World record holder Rudisha is unbeaten in the 800 metres since failing to reach the final two years ago in Berlin in a shock result.
Today’s action in Daegu also features the men’s 400 metres where LaShawn Merritt, back from a 21-month doping ban, posted the fastest time of the year in heats.
Gold medals will also be handed out in men’s discus and 3,000 women’s steeplechase and the heptathlon where Britain’s Jessica Ennis was leading after the first of two days.