Ten reasons to be excited for the 2023 Athletics season
There are many things to look forward to in the sport of athletics in the upcoming year.
There’ll be three global championships in 2023, with ever-expanding one-day meeting circuits spread throughout the year. Rivalries will be renewed, and record-breakers will continue to push boundaries in their respective disciplines.
Here are just ten of the many reasons to be excited by what’s to come over the next 12 months.
1. World Athletics Championships Budapest 23
More than 2000 athletes from about 200 countries will head to the Hungarian capital to compete in the world’s biggest track and field event of 2023. Taking place just 13 months after the last edition, it will be the shortest ever gap between two World Championships, so fans won’t have long to wait before seeing the best athletes on the planet re-engage in battle for global honours.
2. Pushing boundaries
World Athletes of the Year Mondo Duplantis and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone have elevated their respective events to new heights in recent years.
Both aged just 23, their progression and record-breaking exploits will most likely continue in 2023. The same applies to other dominant forces within the sport, such as world and Olympic triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas and marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge.
3. New eras
The sport, as with everything in life, continues to evolve. Kenya, for example, dominated the steeplechase for years, but now the leading forces in that discipline are from Morocco, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.
The women’s throws, meanwhile, are now the domain of North America. And Japan is a leading force in men’s race walking.
New faces and countries will likely emerge in 2023, changing the landscape of the sport.
4. Sprint showdowns
Gone are the days where the world’s leading sprinters avoid each other on the circuit. Multiple world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, for example, will often line up against fellow Jamaican stars Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson. And 200m specialists Noah Lyles and Erriyon Knighton have clashed frequently in recent years. No doubt there will be many more high-octane sprint duels in store in 2023.
5. World Athletics Road Running Championships Riga 23
The newest global event within the sport, the World Athletics Road Running Championships Riga 23 will unite elite and recreational runners in the Latvian capital on September 30 and October 1. The range of distances — mile, 5km and half marathon — means there’s something for all of the world’s best endurance athletes to sink their teeth into. The same applies to the thousands of runners who’ll take to the streets of Riga for the mass races as they race in the footsteps of legends.
6. Crouser vs Kovacs
They provided one of the greatest duels the sport has ever witnessed at the 2019 World Championships, and there’s no sign of the rivalry ending between Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs. The shot put giants have won numerous global titles between them. Crouser has been a dominant force in recent years, but Kovacs also hit an all-time career peak in 2022 with a lifetime best of 23.23m, taking him to No.2 on the world all-time list behind Crouser. No one would be surprised if either man broke the world record in 2023.
7. At the double
When the timetable for the 2023 World Championships was release a few months ago, it became clear that many popular doubles — such as the 100m and 200m, 800m and 1500m, 1500m and 5000m, 5000m and 10,000m, 20km and 35km race walk, women’s long jump & triple jump, and women’s 200m and 400m – would be doable in Budapest. The likes of Yulimar Rojas, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Fred Kerley and Sydney McLaughlin have all hinted at attempting major championship doubles in recent years, so it will be fascinating to see who enters more than one discipline in the Hungarian capital.
8. Continental Tour Gold expands
The global one-day meeting circuit will have 14 Gold level meetings in 2023, taking in new stops in Botswana, Grenada and Melbourne.
It means there are now Gold meetings in five different continental areas. The wider series has also expanded with 165 Continental Tour meetings currently on the calendar for 2023, 13 more than in 2022.
9. Distance duels
Endurance athletes are extra fortunate in 2023 because they will be able to compete at all three global championships, covering a range of surfaces. Letesenbet Gidey and Hellen Obiri provided one of the most thrilling clashes at the World Championships in Oregon, and there’s a good chance they’ll race one another again, either in Bathurst, Budapest or Riga.
World 5000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, meanwhile, could potentially line up against two-time world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei in Budapest — or even on the circuit throughout the season.
There are four women active in the marathon — Brigid Kosgei, Ruth Chepngetich, Amane Beriso and Tigist Assefa — with sub-2:16 PBs, all of whom could push one another to a world record. And in the race walks, the likes of Toshikazu Yamanishi and Massimo Stano could clash at either 20km or 35km — or both.
10. World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 23
One of the first big highlights of the year will take place Down Under when Bathurst hosts the World Cross Country Championships.
Recent editions have been highly competitive and engaging, and that will no doubt be the case once more as hundreds of the world’s best distance athletes take to Mount Panorama. And, as is the case with Riga and Budapest, there are opportunities for recreational runners to be a part of the event too.
posted Thursday January 5th
by World Athletics