Rarely, if ever, the running disciplines of the World Championship in Athletics offered so many battles of the giants. On 100 meters for men, competition is really scary: Americans Maurice Green, Tim Montgomery, or winner of the U.S. trials, Bernard Williams; European champion Dwain Chambers from England; evergreen Namibian Frankie Fredricks; St. Kitts and Nevis? Kim Collins? Each and any of them can win the gold, but who will it be? On 200 meters for men, Greek athlete, Konstandinos Kenteris is on the brink of an unprecedented achievement. He has the opportunity to win a fourth consecutive world crown. Since his surprise victory on Sydney Olympics, the 200 meters King confirmed his reign by taking the world title in Edmonton, and last years European Championship in Munich, with his best result of 19.85. However, his rule is going to be contested by trio of young Americans: Joshua J. Johnson, Darvis Patton and John Capel, youths with plenty of talent, courage and ambition. World Junior Champion, Englishman Christian Malcolm, or Japanese prodigy Shingo Suetsugu will also be there for keeps? Another competition of prodigies awaits us on 400 meters for men. Americans are still in shock over their lost in Edmonton from Bahamian Avard Moncour, and are determined to prove that this is still their discipline. In last dozen years, anyhow, with the exception of Edmonton, the title was always held by Uncle Sam?s boys. Calvin Harrison, Tyree Washington and Jerome Young are American hopes here. But, opposition is also very serious: Jamaica?s Brandon Simpson and Michael Blackwood are ate least as eager to win as their American counterparts. As for the Europeans, German Ingo Shultz, reigning Champion of the Europe and Frenchman Marc Raquill, winner of the European Cup probably have something to say? Wonder-boy from Russian steppes, Yuriy Borzakovskiy, the World Indoor Champion from two years ago has skipped all the international meetings on 800 meters since in order to prepare for the World Championship. He has to reckon with a serious competition from Kenyans Joseph Mutua and Wilfred Bungei, and their former compatriot who flies Danish colours now, Wilson Kipketer. Moroccan Hicham El-Guerrouj has a double dream: 1.500 and 5.000 meters title. Can he become the most decorated athlete of all times on 1.500 meters? Currently, he shares that honour with Algerian Nouredin Mourcelli. Both of them have three world titles. El-Guerrouj?s rivals don?t deny his superiority, but they are aware that even ?Hicham The Great3 is not invincible. After all, he lost Olympic title, didn?t he? Chirchir brothers from Kenya, Cornelius and William, as well as Bernard Lagat are presenting silent threat. And European Champion, Mehdi Baala, is the French hope for the winning on the home-ground. On the other hand, El-Guerrouj is trying to do something nearly impossible: Since his youth, at least until this season, he hasn?t run 5.000 meters. But, his result of 12:50.24 shows that he means business. Can he do it? Is it humanly possible? Remains to be seen? By Neven Luledzija, Paris
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