Paris pointers: Top takeaways from historic World Athletics Championships

The 2023 World Athletics Championships delivered nine days of ceaseless chaos and memorable moments to sustain fans right through to the Paris Olympics.

It was Great Britain’s best showing in 30 years, with a haul of ten medals matching the highest-ever tally from Stuttgart 1993, and a new generation of legends born in Budapest.

The fact that those performances came in pre-Olympic year adds another layer of intrigue - how will the trends we saw here shape the narratives heading into Paris?

KJT plots golden chapter in Paris

Katarina Johnson-Thompson didn’t get her heart broken this time and her second world heptathlon title was a triumph over adversity that moved the masses.

Very few athletes get back to the very top of their discipline on the back of a tendon injury but the Liverpudlian did just that and became the second British athlete after Jessica Ennis-Hill to win multiple world heptathlon golds.

The 30-year-old has made no secret of her burning desire to win an Olympic medal next summer at the third attempt.

She’ll need to find another level on her 6740-point performance to do so, with Olympic champion Nafi Thiam to return and Anna Hall improving rapidly, but if anyone can, it’s KJT.

Baton brilliance from GB

Great Britain cemented themselves as a relay powerhouse with a host of superb performances with baton in hand in Budapest.

They won a stunning four medals from five relay events and the other was a near miss in the men’s 4x100m relay, a show of strength bettered only by the USA.

The women’s 4x400m squad have won medals at eight of the last nine World Championships and they will hope to return to the Olympic podium in Paris, with Laviai Nielsen a key contributor.

Rio Mitcham appears a real find on the men’s side, coming home with two medals from his global debut and producing when it mattered.

With the likes of Dina Asher-Smith and Matt Hudson-Smith also at the disposal of selectors in their respective relays, everything points to a golden Games for British quartets next summer.

Caudery and Lake lay foundations

There was no medal for Britain in a field event but two promising performances from athletes ready to time their run onto the Olympic podium.

Pole vaulter Molly Caudery has added 0.15cm to her personal best this season and showed true championship temperament with a 4.75m clearance at the final time of asking to finish fifth.

With the guidance of Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw, hoping to get back to her own best for Paris, the sky’s the limit for Caudery at the age of just 23.

Then there’s Morgan Lake, who appears to have really cracked what it takes to perform at the top table this season.

Lake cleared both 1.94m and 1.97m at the final attempt on the last night of action, capturing the imagination and falling narrowly short of the podium in fourth.

She’ll fancy her chances of taking one final step and becoming Team GB’s first medallist in women’s high jump since Tokyo 1960.

Can lightning strike thrice in men’s 1500m?

Where does the men’s 1500m go from here? Edinburgh AC products Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman have sent Jakob Ingebrigtsen into a tailspin with identikit victorious in successive seasons.

The Scottish pair have since come out swinging, accusing the Norwegian of ‘arrogance’ in his race tactics and ‘insecurity’ in semi-final showboating, fanning flames of this compelling rivalry ahead of Paris.

Kerr has made no bones about the fact that he’s not in the sport to win Diamond Leagues but to win championships; he’s not in the sport to win championships but dominate and Olympic gold is his next focus.

Surely Jakob can’t let them do it again - or perhaps we should stop talking about the race like it’s his to lose. The Scots hold all the cards now.

Zharnel Hughes has arrived

It’s hard to believe Zharnel Hughes is already 28. After eight years of competing on the international stage, he’s put together the formula to shed hundredths of seconds and muscle in on global medals.

His 100m bronze was worth its weight in gold, Britain’s first in the event since 2003, and will free him up to show his best at Paris 2024.

It feels like a long time since Hughes false-started in the final of the Tokyo Olympics, those starting issues now a thing of the past as he puts together consistent championship performances.

Hughes holds a special place in his heart for the 200m but next year it may be in the shorter sprints that his best chances of success lies.