UF sends 17 to World Athletic Championships

University of Oregon Hayward Field track
University of Oregon's Hayward Field. (Shutterstock)

The first World Athletics Championships held on U.S. soil will take place from July 15-24 at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus. 

The University of Florida will be well represented as 17 current or former Gators have qualified for the 18th World Athletics Championships which had its first meeting in 1983 in Helsinki, Finland.

Two Gators earned automatic qualifying bids based on their previous wins at the 2019 World Championships—Grant Holloway and Christian Taylor. 

Holloway will seek to defend his world title beginning Saturday, July 16. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Sunday, July 17. Holloway, ranked No. 1 in 2018, 2019 and 2021, will compete in a tough field. He lost earlier in the year to USA’s Devon Allen, who set the world’s fastest time this year of 12.84 seconds. 

Holloway will also need to contend with FSU grad Trey Cunningham, who has the second-fastest time in the world this year (13.00), last year’s Olympic gold medalist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica and this year’s U.S. champion Daniel Roberts, who defeated Holloway at the 2019 SEC Championships when he was competing for Kentucky.

Taylor will vie for an unprecedented fifth World Athletics gold medal in the triple jump. He did not compete in last year’s Olympics due to a ruptured Achilles injury and has been slow to recover his fitness, but will compete along with UF alum Will Claye to earn a spot on the podium. 

Spain’s Jordan A. Diaz (a Cuban defector), Cuba’s Andy Diaz, Lazaro Martinez and Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo (a Cuban defector) will be their main competition, which begins on July 21, with finals on July 23.

Other UF alumni who have a chance at earning a spot on the podium include:

Joseph Fahnbulleh will represent Liberia. The NCAA 100-meter and 200-meter outdoor champion has the fifth-fastest time in the world this year at 19.83 in the 200. U.S. 18-year-old phenom Erriyon Knighton from Hillsborough High School in Tampa has the fastest time in the 200 with a 19.49.

Fahnbulleh could earn the Gators’ second medal in the 200. John Capel earned a gold medal in the 200 in 2003. Competition for the 100 starts on July 15 with finals on July 16. Then he will compete in the 200 on July 18 with the finals scheduled for July 21.

Anna Hall will try and add to her championships in the women’s heptathlon. The NCAA Outdoor heptathlon and indoor pentathlon champion has the second-best score in the world this year at 6458. That mark was good enough for the second-best score all time collegiately. The best score in the world this year of 6,693 is held by Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands. The two-day heptathlon event is scheduled for July 17-18.

Champion Allison’s first year at UF was a doozy. The Alabama transfer ran 43.70 to finish second in the 400 meters at the USATF National Championships which was a school record and the second-fastest time in the world this year. Michael Norman set the fastest time in the world this year at 43.56, in beating Allison. Allison will also be a part of the 4×400 relay team which is favored to win.

Allison will begin the three rounds of 400 competition on July 17 with the final scheduled for July 20. The 4×400 relay will take place on July 23-24.

Talitha Diggs ran the fourth-fastest time in the world at 49.99 to win the USATF 400-meter Outdoor Championships. Two weeks earlier, she won the NCAA 400 outdoor championships on the same track. She will try and make it three championships in a row on the same track. Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic owns the world’s fastest time this year at 49.29.

Like Allison, Diggs will have three rounds of competition in the 400 on the same day as the men’s competition and run in the 4×400 relay on the final two days of competition.

Jasmine Moore won an amazing eight SEC and NCAA championships in her first year at UF. The Georgia transfer was the first woman in history to claim the triple and long jump titles in a single year. She also posted a collegiate indoor all-time best of 47 feet, 9.75 inches (14.57 meters) in the triple jump. If she can duplicate that mark, she could be in the hunt for a top-three medal earning finish. The current world best is 48-8 (14.83 meters) by Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas. The triple jump will start onJuly 15 with finals on July 16.

In the long jump, Moore has the world’s seventh-best jump of the year, 22-4.50 (6.82 meters). The leader is Germany’s Malaika Mihambo with a mark of 23-3.25 (7.09 meters). That event will be held on July 23-24.

List of UF athletes and alumni participating (with country and event):

Joseph Fahnbulleh: Liberia, 200 

Grant Holloway: U.S., 110 hurdles

Christian Taylor: U.S., triple jump

Anna Hall: U.S., heptathlon:

Jasmine Moore: U.S., long jump, triple jump

Talitha Diggs: U.S., 400, 4×400 relay

Champion Allison: U.S., 400, 4×400 relay

Cory McGee: U.S., 1500

Will Claye: U.S., triple jump

Hakim Sani Brown: Japan, 100, 4×100 relay

Thomas Mardal: Norway, hammer throw

Lloydricia Cameron: Jamaica, shot put

Marquis Dendy: U.S., long jump

Benji Lobo Vedel: Denmark, 400

Raymond Ekevwo: Nigeria, 100, 4×100 relay

Doneisha Anderson: Bahamas, 4×400 relay

Eddie Garcia: U.S. Virgin Islands, marathon

A list of athletes with ties to Gainesville:

Tamari Davis, 4×100 relay pool (Gainesville High, Oak Hall)

Noah Lyles, 200 (born in Gainesville, TC Williams, Virginia)

Josephus Lyles, 4×100 relay pool, (born in Gainesville, TC Williams, Virginia)

Katie Negeotte, pole vault (engaged to Gainesville Area Rowing head coach, Hugo Moon)

A complete schedule of events can be found at World Athletics and a full listing of TV and streaming coverage can be found at NBC Sports

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