Olympic pointers from World Athletics Championships

AFP Sport picks five themes from the championships in the Hungarian capital with an eye on the Paris Games in less than a year from now.

Noah Lyles became the fifth man to do the double, and the first since Usain Bolt in 2015 as he claimed his fourth individual world title on 25 August 2023. Picture: Twitter/@LylesNoah

BUDAPEST - Sha'Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles lit up the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, while 2024 Olympics host nation France went home without a single individual medal.

AFP Sport picks five themes from the championships in the Hungarian capital with an eye on the Paris Games in less than a year from now.


Track and field needs its stars and the faces of the world championships in Budapest were arguably the American sprint pair of Noah Lyles and Sha'Carri Richardson.

Lyles bagged three golds (100, 200, 4x100m relay), while Richardson won the blue riband event and anchored the women's team to gold, while also picking up a bronze in the 200m.

The pair are outspoken and sometimes brazen in their criticism of media coverage, but there is no denying their appeal to a wider audience. The US track team for the Olympics will surely be based around them.

"It's fantastic, isn't it? They're absolute rock stars, they both have come through in the most powerful way," World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said.


Jamaica's men continue to struggle in the individual sprints, Oblique Seville' fourth place in the 100m the best result.

Seville helped the men's relay team to a bronze, but it is a far cry from the days of Bolt, Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake dominating the speed events.

Instead, it has fallen on Shericka Jackson to fly the flag, the sprinter running the second fastest time ever, 21.41sec, to retain her 200m title. "I will continue to work and I hope I can maintain at least this level and we will see if the world record will come," Jackson said.


In what was terrible timing less than a year out from a home Olympics, 2024 Summer Games hosts France failed to bag a single individual medal in Budapest.

Their only medal was silver in the men's 4x400m relay on the final day. There can be no hiding from the astonishingly poor return for one of Europe's traditionally strong track and field nations.

Their sole medallist from Eugene last year, Kevin Mayer, dropped out of the decathlon with a sore achilles tendon.

"I have to accept I'm not Superman, but next year I'll give everything to be Superman. I cannot wait to be at Paris," Mayer said.

"My body is telling me I need to rest before the Olympic Games."

But World Athletics president Coe, remembering his own role as chief organiser of the 2012 London Olympics, emphasised how important the seven-year lead-up to hosting a Games was, calling France's lack of medals "a challenge".

"They're going to have to work hard and we need to make sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to probably work harder than we would normally have done around the track and field programme to recognise that there’s a bit of a domestic delta at the moment."


Norway looks well set for Paris thanks to Karsten Warholm and Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

Warholm remains the dominant force in the men's 400m hurdles after easily outdoing his rivals for gold.

"I'm still hungry for more and more. You need to have that to chase the gold medals," said Warholm, whose world record-setting run to win Olympic gold in Tokyo was one of the most iconic moments of the Summer Games.

Although Ingebritsen was outdone in the 1500m by a Briton for the second consecutive year, he built on that silver to take an impressive gold in the 5,000m and, on his day, remains a force to be reckoned with at either distance.


The Olympics might be a year away, but who would realistically take a punt against two-time defending 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon adding to her long list of accolades?

The 29-year-old mother of one won a historic 1500/5,000m double in Budapest. It was her third world 1500m title in a season in which she has set three world records.

Her astonishing form sees her installed as an odds-on favourite for any event she has entered, fitness notwithstanding.

The question is whether she might be tempted to follow in Dutch rival Sifan Hassan's shoes and attempt a treble in Paris over not only the 1,500 and 5,000m, but also the 10,000m.

"This has been an amazing year for me," Kipyegon said. "I have been patient waiting to be able to break world records and win double golds. I have been pushing myself to the limits and I will continue to push myself in the future."