Susanna Kallur (SWE)
The new world record holder could very well become the star of the championships if she can reproduce the form that has seen her leave all her competitors for dead in recent weeks. Competition for the gold medal (if any) may well come from American Lolo Jones (7.77) but the title appears to be Kallur’s to lose.
Dayron Robles (CUB)
The young Cuban may have the fastest time this year (7.33) and be a mere 3 hundredths away from Colin Jackson’s world record but he will have strong competition in the form of China’s Liu Xiang who is looking to lay down a marker ahead of the Olympics being held in his homeland.
Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS)
She broke the world record in her first indoor competition of the year (4.95m), and promptly recorded her first loss since 2004 in the very next competition to bitter rival Svetlana Feofanova. Such is the almost Jeckyl and Hyde performances of Isinbayeva over the last 18 months or so. She does however have a formidable record at major championships with 7 wins in her 10 starts.
Olu Fasuba (NGR)
The quiet man of sprinting, Fasuba boasts the African 100m record of 9.85s and a 6.49s personal best over 60m. He tops the performance lists this season and thus starts as the favourite to secure his first world title but will face a threat from former countryman Samuel Francis (6.54s), once of Nigeria now of Quatar as well as Michael Rodgers (6.54s) of the United States.
Maria Mutola (MOZ)
The veteran 800m living legend goes to her last world indoors before retiring at the end of the outdoor season. Ranked 4th behind 3 Russian athletes the events most decorated athlete will have to roll back the clock to clinch her 8th world title here.
Irving Saladino (PAN)
Whilst a much anticipated show down between the world champion and young pretender Andrew Howe will now not take place, Saladino will be looking to go one better than he did 2 years ago in Moscow and claim a gold medal to add to his outdoor title. With a huge jump of 8.42m he leads this years performance lists by 18cm from his closest rivals Al Khuwalidi Mohamed Salman of Saudia Arabia (8.24m) and Chris Tomlinson (8.18m) of Great Britain.
Kelly Sotherton (GB)
Valencia could be the last chance for this British athlete to win a world title. Carolina Kluft and compatriot Jessica Ennis are both missing out due to injury and training commitments leaving only Ukrainian silver medallist from Osaka Lyudmila Blonska who heads the pentathlon rankings this year, as a realistic contender for the title.
Yelena Soboleva (RUS)
Her 1500m world record (3:58.05) achieved in Moskva a couple of weeks ago and her formidable 800m time of 1:56.49 means this Russian will be extremely hard pushed to beat whatever event she chooses to compete in. The possibility of a showdown in the 800m final between her and Maria Mutola would certainly be a moment to savour.
Dwain Chambers (GB)
After the huge controversy generated by his shock return to the sport, the world’s eyes will certainly be trained on the 29 year old Londoner as he bids to secure his first title since his drugs ban. Having raced at just two meetings this year, he will certainly be a dark horse for a medal and may even surprise one or two of the favourites.
Dwight Thomas (BAH)
Having taken the high jump world by storm since he decided to switch from basketball to athletics Dwight Thomas is looking to add the world indoor title to the outdoor crown he won in Osaka last year. Stefan Holm however will lead a host of rivals eager to prevent that happening with Holm clearing 2.37m at the Swedish indoor championships and 4 other guys over 2.35m so far this year.