Preview of 2012 Season

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Preview of

Kirani James enjoyed a wonderful 2011 seasonAny Olympic year is special but 2012 will be the first year we see the European Championships being held in addition to the Games themselves as they adopt a two-year cycle from now on. It is worth noting there will be no Race Walks or Marathons at the European Champs when they fall in the same year as the Olympics.

As well as the London 2012 Olympics and European Champs in Helskinki, there are two global events that will attract significant interest - the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul (9 - 11 March) and the World Junior Championships in Barcelona (10 - 15 July). The IAAF Samsung Diamond League will enter its third season and it has so far proved a superb initiative, taking over from the IAAF Golden League in 2010 and offering athletics fan worldwide the chance to see top international athletics at its very best.

We have enjoyed a hugely successful 2011 with a number of world-class juniors starting to shine at senior level - many of these young athletics stars are likely to provide some of the many potential highlights next year.

Names to Watch

Kirani James
(Grenada) stormed to 400m gold at the World Championships at the age of just 18 then lowered his PB to 44.36 in Zurich to end the season just 0.01sec behind world leader LaShawn Merritt and comfortably ahead of the next fastest time - 44.65. Should be close to breaking 44 seconds in 2012.

Young German Shot Put sensation David Storl also won World gold in Daegu (21.78m PB) despite fierce competition and the 21 year-old looks set to improve further in 2012. Expect him to go well beyond 22m and be one of the favourites for gold in London.

Jack Green has a bright future in the 400m HurdlesSprint hurdler Sally Pearson from Australia came so close to a World Record when winning the World Champs with her 12.28 clocking and she enjoyed a phenomenal season with great consistency in her performances. Now aged 25, Pearson still has a few seasons to improve on Donkova's magical 12.21 mark from 1988.

Christian Taylor was a name many people had not heard until 2011, when he catapulted himself to fifth on the all-time Triple Jump lists with a huge 17.96m effort when taking the World title in Daegu. Had the wind been more favourable than 0.1m/s, he could have approached Jonathan Edwards' WR mark of 18.29m. Taylor is only 21 and can only improve providing he stays injury-free. He should become the third man to clear 18m when he competes next year.

Nobody felt that Usain Bolt's 200m World Record of 19.19 would be broken by anyone other than the man himself and Yohan Blake nearly proved us all wrong when he ran 19.26 in Brussels. Another 21 year-old with a massive amount of talent, Blake's rivalry with Bolt in 2012 could see this mark lowered.

Obviously the British athletes will be expected to achieve a great deal at their 'home' Olympics and the likes of Dai Greene, Mo Farah, Phillips Idowu and Jessica Ennis are all genuine gold medal contenders. A number of younger athletes will have the chance to enhance their reputations such as Holly Bleasdale (Pole Vault), Jodie Williams (100m / 200m), Jack Green (400m Hurdles) and Lawrence Okoye (Discus).

One thing is certain - for all British athletics fans, 2012 will live long in the memory and be unlike any other athletics season experienced before. Not since 1948 has the Olympics come to the UK and it will be an incredible year that promises so much.

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