The IAAF, in cooperation with a number of specialist organisations and individuals, have in the last week been gathering and analysing data, discussing and experimenting with new techniques and technologies at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.
Tests are ongoing during the competition to assess the viability of athletes more widely in the future wearing body cameras which would give fans a closer experience of what athletes are experiencing when they compete. Similarly, the largest ever Biomechanics Project in the sport’s history is taking place analysing performances in 17 events, helping to understand the techniques which separate the champions from the pack. The 3rd IAAF World Coaches Conference, which was held for four days earlier in the week, attracted over 600 participants including many of the world’s premier coaches, with speed, endurance, strength and brain coaching the topics addressed.
The guiding principal of all these projects is the safety and welfare of athletes. With that in mind a voluntary IAAF Medical Examination and Health Survey has been underway to gain as much information as possible from athletes to know which medical services they have been subject to, prior to the event, so as to better protect their health in the future.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe commented: “We are grateful to the world class teams and experts who have been working on some interesting projects and exciting tech developments which will help us advance the understanding of athletics. This information will help the IAAF to better protect the health of athletes, advance their coaching, the sport science associated with it and help us to better tell the story of their super human achievements to sports fans worldwide.”
On the field of play the IAAF has been trialling body cameras on some athletes who have volunteered to support this experiment. The object is to show fans athletics performance through the eyes of the athlete. The micro sized camera mounted in a vest doesn’t affect sporting performance thanks to its ergonomics. Worn underneath the athlete’s uniform, the lens peers out of a precise opening, adapting to any uniform.
Biomechanics research project
Leeds Beckett University, in cooperation with the IAAF, are carrying out the biggest biomechanics research project ever conducted in athletics during the IAAF World Championships London 2017.
The aim of the project is to support athletes and coaches in the optimisation and improvement of their training and competition performance.
Dr Athanassios Bissas, a leading researcher and international expert on issues related to biomechanics of sports performance, has been leading a team of 40 people from the Carnegie School of Sport. The team is deploying a selection of 40 cameras – comprising 25 high-speed cameras and 15 HD camcorders across 17 event disciplines in London.
Initial Data Reports have now been published from four events. Did you know?
10,000m: Despite being an arduous endurance event, the very best athletes exhibited running speeds in excess of 25 km/h in the final 100m.
100m: Reaction time in the final was 0.045 seconds slower than Gatlin’s, which was more than the final time difference between them (0.03 seconds).
Pole Vault: Ekaterini Stefanidi approached the box with a lower speed compared to the other medallists. This perhaps facilitated a take-off positon closer to the box and a steeper take-off angle: 27.5° compared with (14.4 – 21.3°) of the other finalists. [D
Discus Throw: the total duration of the throw for both gold and silver medallists was noticeably shorter (<800ms) than their two nearest opponents. This indicates the paramount importance of the explosiveness required to perform a successful throw.
Fuller data and analysis for these and another 13 events will be published later in the year.
IAAF World Coaches Conference
From Monday 7 to Thursday 10 August, the third edition of the IAAF World Coaches Conference was held.
Opened by President Coe, the conference was held over four mornings when there were no competition sessions in the stadium. The main speakers were Loren Seagrave, Prof Dr Ulrich Hartmann, Shaun Pickering, and Neil Dallaway.
The conference also attracted coaches whose athletes had taken gold at these championships: Dale Stevenson, coach to newly crowned world shot put champion Tom Walsh of New Zealand, Rana Reider who guides world triple jump champion Christian Taylor and Mitchell Krier, who coaches Ekaterini Stefanidi the world pole vault champion.
The conference attracted a total of 623 participants across the sessions, with 136 attending the first morning focussed on ‘endurance’ disciplines, 196 taking part in the second’s day’s discussions about ‘strength’, the next day another 152 were attended to discuss ‘speed’ training and on the last day when discussion about ‘the brain as a performance-limiting factor’ 139 attended.
- IAAF World Coaches Conference day 2 story
- IAAF World Coaches Conference day 3 story
- IAAF World Coaches Conference day 4 story
- Videos of each session on the IAAF's Youtube channel
Pre-participation medical examination and health survey
An IAAF Medical Examination and Health Survey has been underway during the World Championships in London. So that the IAAF fully understands and contributes in the best way towards the protection of athletes’ health, in the context of a major athletics championship, it is important to know which medical services the athletes have been subject to, prior to the event.
The Survey which is being conducted by IAAF Health and Science Department in cooperation with the Athletics Research Center, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, Sweden, will also help to identify areas that may need improving.
Participation in this research was voluntary. All personal information is being treated in the strictest confidence and will not be divulged to parties outside the research team affiliated to the IAAF, including your coaches or national team managers. Results from this study will be published according to the highest scientific standards in aggregate form so that no individual athlete be identified.
The survey is in three parts (personal information, pre-participation medical examinations and self-care, as well as views on medical procedures) and takes approximately 4-5 minutes to complete.
Reigning world and Olympic champion David Rudisha was a late withdrawal from the IAAF World Championships London 2017 due to a quad muscle strain but the Kenyan triumvirate on show were all comfortable heat winners.
His winning time was the second slowest of the day but Emmanuel Korir looked mightily impressive, sauntering through the fourth heat in 1:47.08. The 22-year-old hasn’t lost an individual race at any distance this year - heats included - and he will be looking to emulate his coach Paul Ereng - the 1988 Olympic 800m champion - by claiming a major title on his senior championship debut
Kipyegon Bett might not be the stylist of Rudisha but the 19-year-old is another highly vaunted prospect tipped to challenge for senior honours. The reigning world U20 champion opened proceedings by winning the first heat in 1:45.77 ahead of Sweden’s Andreas Kramer (1:45.98) and the much improved American Drew Windle, who moved from a distant sixth at the top of the home straight to finish third in 1:46.08.
The most experienced of the Kenyan contingent with Rudisha sidelined, world and Olympic finalist Ferguson Rotich was equally untroubled in the third heat, winning in 1:45.77.
With four sub-1:44 competitors drawn in a loaded sixth heat, a notable name was in danger of missing out on a semifinal place - even though there were six non-automatic qualifying places available.
Donavan Brazier took a gun-to-tape win in 1:45.65 with former world champion Mohammed Aman from Ethiopia running one of his best races in recent seasons - 1:45.81 for second - while Great Britain’s Guy Learmonth took third in 1:45.90, running Olympic finalist Marcin Lewandowski (1:46.17) and world bronze medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia & Herzegovina (1:46.54) out of automatic qualifying.
Lewandowski scraped through as a fastest loser but Tuka was the highest profile casualty across the six heats.
Thijmen Kupers from the Netherlands was the fastest of the day from the second heat with 1:45.53 while Nijel Amos from Botswana won the fifth heat in 1:47.10 ahead of fellow medal contenders Pierre-Ambroise Bosse from France (1:47.25) and Poland’s Adam Kszczot (1:47.36).
Taking advantage of her compatriot's error, Kenya’s Caren Chebet charged to victory at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 on Friday (14), winning the gold medal in a dramatic girls' 2000m steeplechase final.
Having pulled away from Chebet in the closing stages, Mercy Chepkirui looked to have the race wrapped up on the final lap, but she stumbled at the last water jump and was left sprawled on the track.
Yanking herself back up, Chepkirui soon regained her rhythm, but she could not respond to a late surge from Chebet and settled for second place.
Chebet crossed the line in 6:24.80, chopping nearly three seconds off Chepkirui's world U18 lead, and Chepkirui took silver, also setting a personal best of 6:26.10 to the delight of the home crowd.
Ethiopia's Etalemahu Sintayehu grabbed the bronze medal in 6:35.79.
"I'm very happy because it's my first time to compete on such a big stage," Chebet said.
"I thank my coaches who have instilled discipline in me, enabling me to win."