ROME, SEPT. 2 -- Following a day off that included the disqualification of an athlete for steroid use, the world track and field championships resume Thursday with a flurry of activity that includes five finals and the meet debuts of world-record holders Daley Thompson and Sergei Bubka.

Thompson, who has won his last 12 decathlons since 1978, gets the fifth day of the meet under way in the decathlon 100 meters -- the Briton's top event. Bubka, the pole vault record holder at 19 feet 9 1/4, will take part in vault qualifying. The Soviet has toppled 16 indoor and outdoor world marks during his career. Gold medal finals are scheduled for the men's 400 meters, 110-meter hurdles and 200 meters, and the women's 400-meter hurdles and 200 meters.

Today, Australian javelin thrower Sue Howland was disqualified after the International Amateur Athletic Federation announced she had tested positive for steroids following a July 22 meet in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Howland, 26, was to begin competition here Friday.

The IAAF will identify within the next few days as many as eight athletes who have failed drug tests during the last year. Dr. Arne Ljungvist of Sweden, chief medical officer of the IAAF, said the announcement should come Monday, one day after the completion of the meet.

Antoine Richard, France's top sprinter at 100 meters, reportedly tested positive for drugs at a meet in Dijon, France, in early June. The identities of the others who tested positive are unknown.

Meanwhile, a Thursday night round of qualifying for the 5,000 meters has been canceled. Said Aouita of Morocco, who ran the world's first sub-13-minute 5,000 on July 22 at Olympic Stadium, site of the current championships, will see his first action Friday in the semifinals.

Among the men's favorites in Thursday's finals are Innocent Igbunike of Nigeria and Butch Reynolds of Ohio State in the 400; defending champion Greg Foster of the United States, Mark McKoy of Canada and Briton Jon Ridgeon in the 110-meter hurdles, and defending champion U.S. sprinter Calvin Smith and Robson da Silva of Brazil in the 200.

The women's 400-meter hurdles should be a race between Sabine Busch (East Germany), Judi Brown King (United States) and Debbie Flintoff (Australia). A contest between 100-meter champion Silke Gladisch (East Germany), Merlene Ottey (Jamaica) and Florence Griffith (United States) is expected in the 200.

Also, East Germany's Heike Drechsler and America's Jackie Joyner-Kersee -- coming off her gold medal performance in the heptathlon -- begin qualifying in the long jump. They share the world record at 24-5 1/2.