Doha 2019: Previewing eight of the most exciting World Championship events

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The 2019 World Athletics Championships are now just two days away.

The protracted nature of the outdoor season has meant that 'Doha', as if some slowly-approaching promised land, has been in the mouths of everybody in the sport for what seems like a decade.

Qatar's oppressive heat has seen the IAAF's biennial showpiece brushed into September and October, meaning the curtain has long fallen on national championships and the Diamond League.

It's conjured up an atmosphere best described as the calm before the storm and now athletics fans are impatient to see the world's finest runners, jumpers, throwers slug it out for World medals.

GIVEMESPORT will be reporting live at the competition in Doha, providing full social and editorial coverage including expert analysis from former Olympian Michelle Griffith-Robinson.

Previewing Doha 2019

However, in the meantime, we want to put some of the most exciting events and contests under the microscope to assess which athletes will be leaving with the most karats around their neck.

Women's 200 metres

Predicted winner: Dina Asher-Smith

British athletics fans, start rubbing your hands together because Asher-Smith could be the nation's first sprinting World champion since the great Christine Ohuruogu.

With Shaunae Miller-Uibo taking the disappointing, albeit understandable, decision to focus on the 400 metres, the stage looks set for Asher-Smith to add World gold to her British crown.

Elaine Thompson is the biggest threat to Britain's poster-girl, but the Olympic champion hasn't been able to recreate her form from the Jamaican trials nor win consistently in the Diamond League.

Reigning champion Dafne Schippers is also short of form and with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce looking sharper over the shorter sprint, the stars could align for Asher-Smith on an Arabian night.

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Men's triple jump

Predicted winner: Christian Taylor

We're not exactly going to win awards for originality by forecasting a Taylor victory and the American travels to Qatar as a double Olympic champion and three-time World champion.

That being said, you only need to hark back to the Paris Diamond League to see the kind of war that could unfold between him and his compatriot Will Claye.

Claye emerged victorious on that occasion and posted a meeting record of 18.06 metres in the process, so don't be surprised if Jonathan Edwards is left sweating in his seat.

Nevertheless, we're backing Taylor's championship nous to shine when it truly matters, but expect a following pack including Omar Craddock to challenge for the bronze at the very least.

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Men's 400-metre hurdles

Predicted winner: Karsten Warholm

If the Diamond League final in Zurich is anything to go by, the battle between Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin on September 30 could be something for the history books.

Warholm has been a man possessed in his mission to keep lowering both his personal best and the European record, while now closing in on Kevin Young's long-standing world record.

With an astonishing season's best of 46.92 seconds, Warholm is the second fastest man in history and had already broke new ground with his results in Oslo and London.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that the spunky Norwegian hasn't burnt out early and, although Benjamin will be hot on his tail, we're predicting him to retain his World crown.

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Women's 1,500 metres

Predicted winner: Sifan Hassan

One word: Unpredictable. 

World-record holder Genzebe Dibaba has been ruled out with a foot injury, Faith Kipyegon has only raced twice since her maternity break and Laura Muir has been absent since July through injuries.

As a result, there could be an anarchic scramble for the silver and bronze medals even if Hassan - who considered shunning the distance - makes the entry list as a strong favourite.

But if the race devolves into a tactical affair as it so often does on the championship stage, then forecasting the three medallists could be near impossible.

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Men's shot put

Predicted winner: Tomas Walsh

Arguably the most thrilling event on the throws calendar, eight men have surpassed 22 metres this season and will all be vying for a podium place in the Khalifa International Stadium.

It might seem brave to predict Walsh to retain his World crown, especially considering he sits third in the world rankings, but the Kiwi is an expert at holding his nerve on the biggest stages.

That doesn't mean that world-leader Ryan Crouser won't be a threat, though, having delivered the longest throw since 1990 with a superb 22.74m earlier in the year.

Darlan Romani will also be pushing for a gold medal after joining the all-time top 10 in Stanford, while a chasing pack including Konrad Bukowiecki and Joe Kovacs will also be in contention. 

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Men's 400 metres

Predicted winner: Michael Norman

Take away the hurdles and you still have one of the most exciting events on display in Doha.

Michael Norman, who posted an eye-watering time of 43.45 seconds in April, comes into the one-lap final as the overwhelming favourite and Wayde van Niekerk's world record could be under threat.

However, what makes the event all the more exciting is the presence of Fred Kerley who out-sprinted his compatriot to at the USA Track and Field Championships to defy the form book.

That, combined with the return of 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James, could create the optimal conditions to see that 43-second barrier shattered for the very first time.

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Mixed 4x400m relay

Predicted winner: Team USA

Ok, so we haven't picked this event for sheer competitiveness because America seem convincing favourites with their strength in depth and monopoly on the longer sprint relay. 

Rather, we have chosen to highlight this particular event for the historic relevance, seeing male and female competitors share a relay team for the first time ever at the World Championships.

If the World Relays in Yokohama are anything to go by, you can expect some fascinating head-to-heads, pivotal team tactics and exchanges of the lead that could swing by over 50 metres.

And while Britain will be strong contenders in all five relay races, athletes such as Martyn Rooney are confident that the mixed competition is the country's safest bet for climbing the podium. 

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Men's 200 metres

Predicted winner: Noah Lyles

We had to finish our preview on this note. Predicting Lyles to claim the gold is tantamount to a forecast of rain in the UK, but it's not the fight for victory that makes this race tantalising.

Lyles, an absolute jack-in-the-box of energy, seems the natural successor to the great Usain Bolt and has been systemically tearing apart his meeting records on the Diamond League circuit.

Can he shatter the world record in Doha? We're unconvinced that he can shave an entire 0.32 seconds off his personal best, but Michael Johnson's American best looks there for the taking.

Assuming the 22-year-old can maintain his relaxed demeanour on the big stage, we're predicting it to be a case of Lyles against the clock.

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