(Reuters) - Key women to watch at the Sept. 27-Oct. 6 world championships at Doha:
SHAUNAE MILLER-UIBO, Bahamas, 400m
Miller-Uibo wanted to chase both the 200 and 400 metres titles, but the schedule did not work out.
So the Olympic champion, aged 25, will try to add to a 400 metres streak that began in 2017, then lobby for a Tokyo Olympics programme that makes possible a rare 200-400m double.
The Bahamian, who is raising money for her Hurricane Dorian-devastated nation, created major headlines with her “dive” to defeat Allyson Felix by 0.07 second in the Rio Olympics 400m.
MARIA LASITSKENE, Russia, high jump
As Lasitskene soars to heights no other jumper has cleared in nearly a decade, the Russian has taken an equally rare step off the track.
The two-time world champion, aged 26, has publicly criticized her country’s suspended athletics federation for what she says is a lack of progress towards reinstatement four years into a doping scandal.
Not since 2011 has a woman leaped as high as Lasitskene’s marks of 2.06 metres in 2017 and 2019, which are three centimetres short of the world record.
SIFAN HASSAN, Netherlands, 1,500, 5,000m, 10,000m
Whatever events the Ethiopian-born Dutch woman decides to run, gold medals will be on the line.
The 26-year-old, who trains in the United States with acclaimed coach Alberto Salazar, holds the world record in the mile and the year’s fastest times in the 1,500m and 3,000m and third best in the 5,000m.
But it is the 5,000 and 10,000m she likely will pursue after taking Diamond League honours in the 1,500 and 5,000m.
“The one world record I would love would be the 5,000m,” Hassan said.
DALILAH MUHAMMAD, USA, 400m hurdles
Rain, a rarity in Doha, could be a good omen for the 400m hurdles world record holder.
Muhammad won Olympic gold in the rain at the 2016 Rio Games and smashed the 16-year-old world record with a run of 52.20 seconds on another rainy day at Des Moines, Iowa in July.
Now comes the challenge of seeking her first world title, and a riveting final it likely will be with her main rival almost certain to be the 20-year-old many thought would be the new record holder, fellow American Sydney McLaughlin.
Muhammad, 29, got there first in the record-breaking U.S. championships as McLaughlin ran 52.88 for second, but the tables were turned at the Zurich Diamond League final, with McLaughlin claiming the victory as Muhammad finished third.
SHELLY-ANN FRASER-PRYCE, Jamaica, 100, 200, 4x100m relay
No runner, male or female, has ever won four 100m world titles, but Fraser-Pryce will try to make that happen.
Gold medallist in 2009, 2013 and 2015, she also will attempt to become at age 32 the oldest world female 100m winner. Retired American Carmelita Jeter currently holds the honour at 31.
While Usain Bolt’s world-record breaking success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics dominated the headlines, Fraser-Pryce also made her share by becoming the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m race.
KATERINA STEFANIDI, Greece, pole vault
The Greek just became the first female pole vaulter to win four consecutive Diamond League titles. Now the reigning Olympic and world champion is aiming for two more honours.
A victory in Doha would enable the 29-year-old to join American Stacy Dragila and Russian Yelena Isinbayeva as the only repeat female pole vault world champions. Dragila did it in 1999 and 2001 with Isinbayeva taking gold in 2005 and 2007.
Stefanidi also has a chance for a third global title, an exclusive club that currently includes only Isinbayeva (with five - two Olympic, three world) and Dragila (three - two world, one Olympic).
YULIMAR ROJAS, Venezuela, triple jump
The world indoor and outdoor champion definitely has the world record in her sights.
Tuning up for the world championships earlier this month, the 23-year-old bounded 15.41 metres, nine centimetres shy of the 1995 record that Ukrainian Inessa Kravets set two months before Rojas was born.
“I want to show women that if you work hard for something you can do it,” Rojas said after improving her personal best by 30 centimetres and becoming the fourth female triple jumper to record at least four 15-metre jumps in the same year.
The jump made Rojas the favourite for another world title with contenders Shanieka Ricketts of Jamaica (14.93m) and Colombian Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen (14.89m).
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge