The official mascot for the IAAF World Championships London 2017 is Hero the Hedgehog. A competition run by iconic BBC children’s television show Blue Peter to design the mascots for both the IAAF World Championships and World Para Athletics Championships received over 4,000 entries from children across the country. Blue Peter first aired in 1958 and is the longest-running children’s TV show in the world. Children aged 6 to 15 were invited to apply and 29 of the 30 to be shortlisted were from children outside of London, underlining the nationwide reach of the competition.
Elinor, 9, from the West Midlands won the competition with her designs for Hero the Hedgehog and Whizbee the Bee, the official mascot of the World Para Athletics Championships. Speaking of her designs, Elinor said: “I chose Hero because Hedgehogs are endangered species and are survivors.”
Elinor received four tickets to a session at both Championships, a VIP tour of the London Stadium, a framed photo of the finished mascots and a Blue Peter orange competition badge.
A bright and warm start will give way to patchy cloud in the afternoon. There is a chance that there will be light showers towards the end of this evening’s session.
The first medal of the Championships begins at 21:20 as Mo Farah bids to win his third consecutive 10,000m world title in front of a home crowd. This is the only final of the opening night.
Farah can expect to be challenged by Abadi Hadis of Ethiopia, who has the world leading time this year, teammate Jemal Yimer and Mathew Kipkorir Kimeli of Kenya. The medals will be awarded following the conclusion of the race at 21:53 in what will be the first ceremony of the 2017 Championships.
The opening rounds of the men’s 100m are also scheduled, marking the beginning of Usain Bolt’s farewell from the track. Qualification starts at 19:00 with Bolt and fellow contenders Christian Coleman, Justin Gatlin and Yohan Blake entering from the heats, which begin at 20:20. Canadian hopeful Andre De Grasse was a late withdrawal through injury.
Farah’s British teammate Laura Muir will begin her double medal bid with the heats of the 1500m at 19:35. Muir has had a fantastic 2017 winning double gold at the European Indoor Championships in March.
Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands is the world leader going into the event while defending champion and world record holder Genzebe Dibaba will be expected to challenge. Genzebe’s older sister Tirunesh is also a world record-holder in the 5000m, making the pair the only siblings in history to hold concurrent world records.
Three field events are scheduled for the opening evening beginning with the men’s discus, which is split into two qualification groups. Group A starts at 19:20 and Group B at 20:45 and between the two of them, German Robert Harting and Piotr Malachowski of Poland have captured the past four world titles.
Qualification in the men’s long jump kicks off at 19:30, an event in which South Africans Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai have been so dominant this year. The women’s pole vault qualification is also in between at 19:45 with Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi bidding to compete the set of senior championships gold medals with victory.
“I have wanted the world record from day one. I am a little disappointed that I have not achieved it so far. I have heard his [Britain’s record-holder Jonathan Edwards] son’s birthday is on the day of the final and I would like to give him this gift [of beating his dad’s record].”
– Christian Taylor (USA), Triple Jump
From Wimbledon, London
Kirsty can’t wait to do her bit for the Championships and help create a buzz around London.