Wigan Harrier Harry Coppell set for World Championships bow

Wigan’s Harry Coppell says he "can't wait to get started" as he prepares to make his debut at the World Championships.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 1:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th September 2019, 2:18 pm
Harry Coppell at Robin Park before he flew out to Doha

The Wigan Harrier is in the Great Britain squad – featuring track superstars Dina Asher-Smith – for the global tournament in Doha, which gets underway tomorrow.

Coppell booked his spot in the team after clearing 5.71m in the pole vault at the British Championships, which acted as qualifiers for the tournament.

The 23-year-old, who equal-fourth on the UK all-time rankings, starts on Saturday hoping to qualify for Tuesday's final.

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Wigan's Jenny Meadows is also at the tournament as a commentator.

With just 10 months to the Olympics in Tokyo it is also a countdown and a marker to see where GB’s stars are against the rest of the world.

At London 2017, GB hit its six-to-eight medal target thanks to the relays.

The 4x100m men’s squad took gold while there were two silvers for the 4x100m and 4x400m women’s squads and a bronze for the men’s 4x400m team. Mo Farah’s 10,000m gold and 5000m silver were the only individual medals in the squad.

This time hopes are pinned on Asher-Smith, Laura Muir and Katarina Johnson-Thompson while Zharnel Hughes and Adam Gemili will hope to add sprint medals.

Asher-Smith – last year’s triple European champion – won the 100m Diamond League final earlier this month and will double up in the 100m and 200m in Doha.

Johnson-Thompson begins her quest for the heptathlon title next Wednesday as she aims to topple defending champion Nafi Thiam.

The 26-year-old finished just 57 points behind Thiam to claim silver at the European Championships in Berlin last summer.

Gold at the Commonwealth Games and victory in the World Indoors pentathlon last year also proved she can perform at a major championship after mistakes at the 2015 and 2017 Worlds and 2016 Olympics.

Muir’s calf problem has hit her build-up to Doha.

The 1500m hopeful – a four-time European Indoor champion – has been boosted though with world record holder Genzebe Dibaba pulling out with a foot injury.

Hughes, Gemili and Ojie Edoburun run in the 100m heats on Friday as they aim to reach the final.

European champion Hughes – who also runs in the 200m with Gemili – remains Britain’s best hope to challenge the USA’s Christian Coleman.

Favourite Coleman, the fastest man in the world this year, will run after the US Anti-Doping Agency withdrew its case against him.

Coleman had been charged with missing three drugs tests.

Elsewhere, Beth Dobbin in the 200m, Holly Bradshaw in the pole vault and Matthew Hudson-Smith, last year’s 400m European champion, are all outside medal hopes for Britain.