IAAF World Championships: De Grasse, Blake lead the pretenders to Bolt's throne

There will be a void in athletics when sprint icon Usain Bolt retires after the IAAF World Championships in London.

The Jamaican has swept all before him in the past four editions of the event, only missing out on one medal at Daegu 2011 due to a false start in the 100m final, with a charisma and showmanship that has endeared him to fans across the globe.

But with the eight-time Olympic champion leaving the sport, it offers a chance for another name to step into the spotlight and forge a legacy of their own.

Here, we take a look at who will be hoping to become the leading star in men's sprinting over the next few years.

Andre De Grasse

The 22-year-old Canadian has made early strides in his burgeoning career, taking 100m bronze at the 2015 World Championships and Rio 2016 – races that were won by Bolt. De Grasse was denied gold by the Jamaican in the 200m at last year's Olympic Games, Bolt looking across and grinning at him as they crossed the line. Those performances established De Grasse as a future star of the sport, though his performances this year have not been as explosive. His only venture below 10 seconds over 100m this season came with a wind-assisted 9.69s at Stockholm in June, while his season's best over the half-lap is 20.01s – the joint eighth best of any athlete.

Yohan Blake

After announcing himself on the senior world stage by triumphing in the 100m at the 2011 World Championships after Bolt was disqualified, Blake has been cast back into his fellow Jamaican's shadow. He took silver in the 100m and 200m at London 2012, but finished fourth in the final of the former four years later in Rio and missed out on a place in the final for the latter, despite beating Bolt at the Jamaican Championships earlier in 2016. He is Jamaica's fastest 200m runner this year, having clocked 19.97s in Kingston, where he also registered the second quickest legal 100m time of 2017 at 9.90s. Could now be the time to step out of his compatriot's shadow?

Wayde van Niekerk

The sport was stunned when reigning 400m world champion Van Niekerk raced clear for gold at Rio 2016, shattering the world record set by the iconic Michael Johnson just under 17 years prior with a sensational 43.03s lap. The South African said before the Olympics he could move to the shorter sprints in the future, and 2017 has seen him set personal bests in the 100m (9.94s) and 200m (19.84s). However, he has his work cut out to hone in on Bolt's world records.

Christian Coleman

The World Championships will provide the setting for Coleman's first individual race at a major senior tournament and the 21-year-old American is being tipped to impress. He helped the United States qualify for the 4x100m relay final at Rio 2016, but is set to make a name for himself in London. Coleman's 9.82s at the NCAA Track & Field Championships is the world-leading time over 100m, while his 19.85s in the 200m has only been beaten by Isaac Makwala and Van Niekerk this year.

Akani Simbine

After failing to get out of his 100m heat at the 2013 World Championships, Simbine made the semi-finals two years later in Russia – matching the feat in the 200m too. The South African has steadily improved over the years, missing out on a medal by 0.03s over the shorter distance at Rio 2016. He is the fifth-fastest man over 200m (19.95s) and third quickest in the 100m (9.92s) this year, and he will be keen to continue progressing in Bolt's absence.

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Tags: Bolt, London, Usain, and, field, track

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