World Indoor Athletics Championships: Colin Jackson picks six events to watch

CJ Ujah wins the men's 60m at the British Indoor Championships
World Indoor Athletics Championships
Venue: Arena Birmingham, Birmingham Dates: March 1-4
Coverage: BBC Two and red button, with updates on BBC Radio 5 live

The weather may be chilly, but the athletics season hots up when the world’s best descend on Birmingham for the World Indoor Championships.

With a tighter 200m track, with a 60m straight and the field events crammed into the middle, it promises to be a frenetic four days of action.

But which are the events that stand out?

Former hurdler Colin Jackson, whose list of major championships medals includes four at the World Indoor Championships, has picked out the races he is really looking forward to.

Colin Jackson

Women’s 1500m

Heats, Friday 19:42 GMT; Final, Saturday 20:39

Laura Muir

This time last year, Laura Muir landed the 1500m-3,000m double at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

She is doubling up again and, as she is not competing at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, this is her main focus for the first half of the season.

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However, she has some formidable opposition, even over her favoured shorter distance.

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, the world champion from London 2017, Ethiopia’s world record holder Genzebe Dibaba and the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan, the fastest woman in the world in 2017, are all on the start list.

Men’s 60m

Heats, Saturday 10:15 GMT; Semi-finals, Saturday 19:11; Final, Saturday 21:09

Christian Coleman (left) and Su Bingtian have both had stellar starts to the year

This is going to be very special.

American Christian Coleman – who won world 100m silver last season and set a new 60m world record earlier this month – will be taking on China’s Su Bingtian.

Su lowered his own Asian 60m record in Dusseldorf earlier this month and has had a strong start to the season.

He is a very crafty runner as well. He does just enough to get through the rounds and you don’t see how fast he is until he gets to the final – where he absolutely blasts it.

Maurice Greene congratulates Maurice Greene on Twitter

He will coming in full of confidence.

Coleman won the US trials and has fast times under his belt, but that new world record was set at high altitude in Albuquerque. We will have to see what he can do at sea level.

CJ Ujah, who won the British title on the same track earlier this month, is the home interest.

Women’s 60m hurdles

Heats, Friday 18:05 GMT; Semi-finals, Saturday 18:05; Final, Saturday, 20:55

Sharika Nelvis (left) and Christina Manning (right)

I think this could be the race of the championships – and it is all about the three Americans.

You have Kendra Harrison, who is the world record holder outdoors.

There is Sharika Nelvis – who is the fastest in the world this year indoors – and Christina Manning, who is third fastest this year behind her two team-mates.

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Only four-hundredths of a second separate them in the year’s standings and, even though this is my event, I cannot call it.

They are so closely matched, there are tiny margins between them. It could be a tiny misstep, a slight clip of a barrier that decides it.

Women’s 60m

Heats, Friday 10:35 GMT; Semi-final, Friday 18:50; Final, Friday 21:38

Asha Philip

Asha Philip’s confidence is growing season by season and, after European indoor gold last year, the 27-year-old Briton could well take world gold this time around.

She has had a strong start to the year with wins in Dusseldorf and the British Championship, while Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson has not.

The Jamaican was well beaten by Philip’s fellow Briton Dina Asher-Smith, who is missing the championships, at the Glasgow Grand Prix and if I was going to pick someone for the 60m it would be Asha over Dina every time.

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Asha is the British record holder over the distance and has won international titles. This is a great shot at a first global senior gold.

Men’s 1500m

Heats, Saturday 11:10 GMT; Final, Sunday 16:12

Jake Wightman and Chris O'Hare

This is going to be a right royal battle. Chris O’Hare and Jake Wightman had a great dust-up in the British Championships last summer, with O’Hare edging a fiercely fought race.

Their abilities make them world-level athletes now as Wightman showed with a landmark win in the Diamond League event in Oslo last year.

The twist with racing indoors is that you can never just rely on just your own ability.

With more and tighter turns, there will be a lot of tactics involved.

The home crowd will be able to really get their teeth into this race, the atmosphere should be cracking.

Jake Wightman

Women’s long jump

Sunday 15:27 GMT

Brittney Reese

Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic, who won silver at the last World Indoors in Portland, leads this year’s standings, but the long jump is another really tight event.

Only 10cm cover the top four jumpers in the world so far with American Brittney Reese – a seven-time world champion across indoor and outdoor championships – among Spanovic’s challengers.

Colin Jackson was speaking to BBC Sport’s Mike Henson.

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