No Farah, Willis Out, Hassan Undecided | Takeaways From Doha Entries

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The entries are out for next week's IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Here are six takeaways. 

1. Mo Farah Won't Defend His 10,000m Title 

The 10-time gold medalist had entertained the idea of doing a 10,000m/marathon double earlier this season — combining a title defense in Doha on October 6 with a run at the Chicago Marathon the following Sunday. However, Farah's agent Ricky Simms confirmed on Thursday that Farah will not compete in Doha. Farah has won the last five global 10,000m championships, a streak that put him in the mix this year despite the fact that he hasn't raced on the track since 2017. 

2. Nick Willis Is Out

The two-time Olympic medalist from New Zealand did not make the meet. Willis didn’t hit the 1500m automatic qualifying standard of 3:36.00, but he looked to be in good position to get to Doha by virtue of his place on the descending order list. When not enough athletes meet the time qualifying standard, the IAAF fills the field based on an athlete's best mark. For the 1500m, the field size is 45 athletes. Willis was in the top 45 when the qualification window closed. However, he was bumped to 46th when “universality athletes” were added. 

Universality athletes are entry spots available to countries who haven’t qualified any athletes to the meet. These nations are permitted one male and one female a spot, regardless if they hit the qualification mark. Usually, these athletes are seen in the 100m, but this year several nations used their selection for the 1500m. 

The result? Willis looks to miss his first outdoor global championship since  2011. 

Athletics New Zealand is not happy about it

3. Sifan Hassan Is Leaving Her Options Open

The Dutch star is entered in the 1500m, 5000m, and 10,000m. It’s a triple that we’d all like to see her try but is impossible in these championships. And by impossible I don’t mean it’s inconvenient or it’s difficult to the level of impossibility — I mean literally impossible. The 1500m and 5000m finals are back-to-back, so she’d have to drop one of those. 

Looking at each individual event, Hassan’s competition is as expected. The 1500m will have Faith Kipyegon, Laura Muir, Konstanze Klosterhalfen, Shelby Houlihan, Jenny Simpson, and Gabriela Debues-Stafford (Genzebe Dibaba has scratched). 

In the 5000m, Klosterhalfen, Hellen Obiri, and Letesenbet Gidey should give her the most trouble. Obiri should also be her main opposition in the 10,000m. Almaz Ayana, the world record holder and reigning champion, is on the start list but hasn’t raced since the Prefontaine Classic, her only race of the season.

4. No Major U.S. Scratches

The meet is still a week away, but thus far everyone we expected to be on the entry list is on the entry list for the United States. That includes the late additions like Kenny Bednarek (200m), Ce’Aira Brown (800m), and Vernon Norwood (400m) who got spots by virtue of Americans winning the Diamond League in their event. 

As per usual, there wasn’t much clarity in relay selections. Big rosters are listed in both the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m, leaving plenty of options for the coaching staff late in the meet. The U.S. can also pull from anyone in an open event as well. 

5. Abderrahman Samba Is In

The Qatari hasn’t raced since July 12 and hasn’t hurdled since May 18, but he will give it a go against a stacked 400m hurdles field. His entry means three of the four fastest men in history have a chance at competing in this year’s championships. 

Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin enter the meet coming off lifetime bests of 46.92 and 46.98 in Zurich. That race set the terms for these championships, with Warholm as the favorite and Benjamin close behind. 

But Samba has run 46.98 as well. Before he missed time for an injury he beat Benjamin in May. However, Samba’s entry doesn’t mean he’s at full fitness. In a home championship, you’d figure it would have taken something major to keep him from at least attempting to race. 

6. Aminatou Seyni Is Running the 200, Not The 400

The third-fastest woman of 2019 in the 400m won’t race that event in Doha. Aminatou Seyni of Niger is entered in the 200m instead. As of this writing, no explanation was given for the decision, but her absence makes the 400m a clear two-woman race between Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Salwa Eid Naser. 

On July 5, Seyni ran 49.19 to Naser’s 49.17 in Lausanne and entered her name into the gold medal mix. Miller-Uibo’s season-best is 49.05. In the 200m, Seyni has run 22.89 and placed fourth at the African Games in August.  

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