World strongest 200m sprinters’ competitive performance analysis

PhD, Associate Professor O.M. Mirzoev
Russian State University of Physical Education, Sports, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPE), Moscow


Keywords: World Championship, competitive results, interval run times versus result, interval run time, deceleration rate, competitive progress data.


Background. A competitive performance may be rated by multiple criteria, with such analyses being very important for competitive performance improvement purposes. Coaches and athletes need to prudently set goals and priorities in the precompetitive training process, mobilize resources for the training programs and make timely decisions to facilitate progress.

Objective of the study was to offer a competitive performance analysis with a set of criteria in application to the 2017 world strongest 200m sprinters.

Methods and structure of the study. For the purposes of the study we have analyzed the competitive video records of the eight strongest 200m sprint finalists in the 2017 IAAF World Championship in London; processed the input data by the interval timing software; and supported the analyses by reports of the event. A special attention was given to the 0-100m and 100-200m interval times; interval time differences on the distance; time difference between the individual best 100m time and the 100-200m distance interval time; deceleration rate in the second half-distance versus the first one; interim result of each athlete in every interval on the 200m distance etc.

Study findings and discussion. Interval times and their differences are ranked high in the sets of competitive performance rating criteria since they are indicative of the special endurance critical for success in the final interval on the distance. It is commonly acknowledged that the 100-200 straight run time should be better than the 0-100m turn run time; otherwise the difference may demonstrate the shortage of special endurance or some error in the turn run tactics.

Leading in the last four (2009-2015) World Championship 200m finals was Usain Bolt, 100m and 200m record-holder from Jamaica, who regretfully retired in 2017 after the IAAF World Championship in London. His failure in the 100m event (where he won only the bronze medal) and in the 4x100m relay (where he failed to finish), followed by his refusal to compete in the 200m event – boosted the competitiveness of the final, with virtually every finalist having a chance for success. Despite the strong competition, the event was won by Ramil Guliyev from Turkey, with the run times varying within the range of 0.55s – from 20.09s to 20.64s.

Leading in the 0-100m interval were Wayde van Niekerk (track 3), Ramil Guliyev (track 5) and Isaac Makwala (track 6), with their interval times ranging within 0.04s only. Ramil Guliyev managed to keep his second position in the 100-200m interval, whilst Wayde van Niekerk (400m World Champion and record-holder) and Isaac Makwala failed to keep the pace. Jereem Richards (track 7) who was only the fifth in the 0-100m interval time managed to speed up in the second-half straight interval making the best interval result to win the bronze medal.

Speed maximizing ability in the second 100-200m interval is considered among the key qualities dominated by special endurance. The 100m interval time differences and the maximal speed to the interval time ratios are often applied to rate the competitive performance in this event. The sprinters who showed the highest maximal speed on the distance to the interval time ratios (up to 100%) in the 0-100m interval failed to win medals, despite their leadership in the first interval.

It is common knowledge that sprinters vary in their preferences and generally specialize in the 100m or 200m events, with some competing in both events, and some competing (very seldom) in the 200m and 400m events.

Three athletes of the 2017 IAAF World Championship 200m finalists made attempts to compete in the other events. Thus Wayde van Niekerk won the 400m final, and this win appeared to claim too much energy from him to win the 200m event; Abdul Hakim Sani Brown from Japan reached the 100m semifinal; and Isaac Makwala qualified to the 400m final albeit failed to compete due to the two-day quarantine in the hotel. No one of such attempts to combine the events in the top ranking international tournament was successful in fact. Wayde van Niekerk, 400m record-holder (with 43.03s) strived to be as successful as M. Johnson who won the 200m and 400m finals in the same top-ranking events (1995 IAAF World Championship and 1996 Olympic Games); although he confessed after the Championship that would never venture doing that again. Isaac Makwala specialized in the 400m event competed in the other events after his failure on the core distance; whilst Abdul Hakim Sani Brown from Japan was not fit enough to compete for the medals.

Of the six 2017 world best 100m sprinters (two of them failed to qualify for the 2017 IAAF World Championship 100m final), Wayde van Niekerk was the best in London with 9.94s. The ratio of the individual 100m best to the 0-100m turn interval in the 200m event varied in the range of 0.35s from 0.16s to 0.51s; with Isiah Young scoring the highest ratio of 0.51s versus 0.31s and 0.32s scored by the Champion and silver medalist. It should be mentioned that neither Isiah Young nor Abdul Hakim Sani Brown managed to run the second 100-200m interval faster than 0-100m interval, unlike their rivals – that may be explained by the inadequate special endurance and/or wrong turn run tactics of the latter.

Correlation analysis showed the competitive success rates of the 2017 world strongest sprinters being in stronger direct correlation (r=0.94) with the 100-200m interval time, than the 0-100m interval time (r=0.45); and this finding once again emphasizes the need in the special priority being given to the special endurance trainings plus the run tactics, particularly the turn run ones.

Run technique analysis with application of a set of kinematic criteria found, among other things, that Ramil Guliyev managed to improve the individual best by only 0.07s, with the improvement due to good reasons other than a tailwind or start reaction. As far as the 0-100m turn interval time is concerned, it should be mentioned that the interval time gradually grew from the qualification event to the final by 0.13s and from the semifinal to final by 0.02s (and coach O.A. Mukhin and the author emphasized this fact in communication with the athlete). It was found that the run stride frequency was the key for the interval speed, with the maximal to actual speed ratio estimated at above 95%. The maximal to actual speed ratio of 100% in the 100-200m interval was achieved in the preliminary event – apparently at sacrifice of the 0-100m interval time. In the final versus the semifinal the interval time was improved due to, above all, the stride frequency control. We believe that the emphasis on the stride frequency was the key factor for the Ramil Guliyev’s success in the Championship.  

Having compared the 2017 finalists’ individual best times with their results in London, we found that only one of the eight competitors managed to come to the 2017 IAAF World Championship on the peak of the sport form (net of the Isiah Young with his 20.12s in the semifinal). Ramil Guliyev was the only finalist who managed to exceed his seasonal individual best result of 18.05.2017 by 0.01s in the final that means that he was able to keep on the peak of the sport form for at least 3 months, in contrast to his rivals. It should be mentioned that he reached the peak at the end of the summer competitive period with 20.02s as of 01.09.2017. Furthermore, the Champion and the both medal winners made their best results in the final – as distinct from the other finalists who came 4th to 8th. These athletes made their best times in the semifinal, with at least three of them assisted by a strong tailwind in excess of the permissible level. On the whole, competitiveness of the semifinals was no less tense than in the final.

The 2017 IAAF World Championship was outstanding in some other aspects with concern to the competitive process design and management. Thus the organizers gave the chance to Isaac Makwala run alone the 200m upon completion of the quarantine in the hotel that kept him indoors for two days. They also revised the Championship daily schedule for the 200m event in favor of Wayde van Niekerk, the 400m event winner, under pressure from IAAF as we believe. It is not unlikely that they tried to secure a double win in the 400m and 200m events for this particular athlete. This makes the 2017 IAAF World Championship different from the 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 IAAF World Championship and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro that never offered rest days in between the 200m semifinals and finals. The London schedule secured a one-day rest day (August 08) following the qualification 200m event of August 07. No doubt that it was made to give time for Wayde van Niekerk to win the 400m event (we should give credit to the organizers who predicted the African sprinter making it to the final). It should be emphasized that lately such special favors and biased exclusions have become more and more often in the top-ranking global events including the Olympic Games.

Conclusion. The study data and analysis demonstrate that sprinters in the precompetitive trainings should concentrate on a single event (other than a relay race) to fully mobilize the individual physical and mental resource. Some of the competitive performance rating criteria tested in the study may be applied to rate the special competitive endurance and partially the technical/ tactical mastery; with the stride frequency rate, for instance, found to be apparently the key factor for success of the new World Champion in the 200m event.



  1. Mirzoev O.M. Pokazateli, opredelyayushchie spetsialnuyu vynoslivost u beguniy na 200 m razlichnoy kvalifikatsii [Indicators to determine special endurance of 200 m runners of various skill levels]. Proc. internat. conf. dedicated to the 50th anniversary of USIPC. Tashkent, 2005, P. 135.


Corresponding author:



The study offers the 2017 world strongest 200m sprinters’ competitive performance analysis with a special emphasis on a few key aspects of the performance. The aspects subject to a special analysis were the following: 0-100m and 100-200m interval times; interval time differences on the distance; time difference between the individual best 100m time and the 100-200m interval time; deceleration rate in the second half-distance versus the first one; interim result of each athlete in every interval on the 200m distance etc. Subject to the analysis was the competitive performance of the finalists in the 2017 IAAF World Championship in London versus their progress data for the period of 2000-2017 – that generally show a growing trend followed with some sag. The study found, among other things, that the competitive success largely depends on the second 100-200m interval time.