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World Athletics Championships: Five British medal prospects

Ahead of the World Athletics Championships, Sports Mole picks out five British athletes that stand a good chance of winning a medal in Beijing.

The 15th World Athletics Championships will get underway in Beijing's famous Bird's Nest Arena tomorrow.

British Athletics have taken a 63-strong team of athletes to China, many of whom will have hopes of winning a medal.

Here, Sports Mole selects five Brits that have decent prospects of achieving that feat.


1. Greg Rutherford

Greg Rutherford celebrates after winning gold in the Olympic long jump event at London 2012 on August 4, 2012© Getty Images

Having won gold at the Olympics, European Championships and Commonwealth Games, Rutherford will be bidding to join a select group of British athletes to have triumphed in the four major competitions. Providing that there are no injuries, the 28-year-old will almost certainly win a medal, it's just a matter of what colour.

He has been in good form this season, having cleared the 8m mark at virtually every meeting. But, with Americans Marquis Dendy and Jeff Henderson both showing equally impressive performances in 2015, Rutherford is likely to face a tough battle for the main prize.


2. Mo Farah

Mo Farah of Great Britain celebrates after winning the Mens 3000m Final during day one of the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games at The Stadium - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 24, 2015© Getty Images

By Farah's own admission, he has had a torrid few months. The double Olympic champion has been caught up in the doping storm involving his American coach Alberto Salazar and training partner Galen Rupp, although it must be stressed that there has never been a suggestion of any wrongdoing on Farah's part.

Nevertheless, the 32-year-old's focus will have been elsewhere this summer - highlighted by his decision to withdraw from the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham shortly after the accusations were made. Even so, having had a few weeks' training and competing, it would be a big surprise were Farah not to be in the running for gold in both the 5,000m and 10,000m.


3. 4x100m relays

Asha Philip, Ashleigh Nelson, Anyika Onuora and Desiree Henry pose with a Union Jack after winning gold in the Women's 4x100 metres relay final during day six of the 22nd European Athletics Championships at Stadium Letzigrund on August 17, 2014© Getty Images

With the sprinters at the disposal of both nations, it's unsurprising that the USA and Jamaica are the favourites to nab gold and silver in both the 100m relays. But, if any squad is capable of upsetting the apple cart, why not the Brits?

Even with the absence of the injured Adam Gemili, the men still have the likes of Richard Kilty, Chijindu Ujah, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and James Ellington to call upon, while the women's team is just as strong, if not stronger. Dina Asher-Smith, Asha Philip and Bianca Williams are all in contention to feature. Providing that they can both get the baton around successfully, bronze should not be beyond them.


4. Zharnel Hughes

Zharnel Hughes of Shaftesbury after victory in the Men's 200m Final during day two of the Sainsbury's British Championships at Birmingham Alexander Stadium on July 4, 2015© Getty Images

Britain has been criticised for accepting a number of athletes from overseas in recent years, yet in Hughes it would appear that they have secured a highly promising talent. Born in Anguilla, the 20-year-old is eligible for Britain due to his homeland's status as a British territory.

In terms of training, it cannot get much better than working alongside Usain Bolt. In fact, Hughes was close to beating the Jamaican superstar at this summer's Diamond League meeting in New York. He is going to need to run sub-20 seconds for the first time to stand any chance of winning a medal in Beijing - something that he has insisted is in the tank.


5. Dina Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain crosses the finish line ahead of Hanna-Maari Latvala of Finland during the Women's 200 metres semi-final during day three of the 22nd European Athletics Championships at Stadium Letzigrund on August 14, 2014© Getty Images

It has seemed that every time Asher-Smith stepped on track this summer, she broke one record or another. The new golden girl of British athletics has decided to focus solely on the 200m in China, rather than doubling up with the 100m as well.

Aged 19 and currently ranked 13th in the world, in truth making the final would be regarded a success for the Blackheath and Bromley Harriers sprinter. But, at least five of those that are above Asher-Smith in the rankings are not competing in Beijing and if she can improve upon her personal best of 22.30s, maybe a place on the podium will not be out of the question.


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Asha Philip, Bianca Williams, Jodie Williams, Ashleigh Nelson of England celebrate winning bronze in the Women's 4 x 100m Relay Final at Hampden Park during day ten of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on August 2, 2014
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