10 MAR 2006 General News

Men's Shot Put FINAL

From his first throw on (21.41m), the issue was not in doubt as America’s Reese Hoffa took gold with a personal best 22.11 (round 2), going one better than the World Indoor silver he took in 2004 and adding to Pan-Am gold from 2003. That distance also represented the eighth longest throw of all time after Randy Barnes 22.66 from 1989.

In second place was Belarus’ Andrey Mikhnevich with a personal best 21.37, his second of the final, while Denmark’s Joachim Olsen repeated his 2004 World Indoor bronze on 21.16 (also 2004 Olympic bronze).

In fourth with his third personal best of the day was the unheralded Russian, Pavel Sofin, on 20.68.

There was no sign of nerves from the first round on as the big guns started firing immediately. First to stamp his authority was Hoffa, coming within striking distance of his world leading 21.65 with a heave of 21.41. It was a lead he was never to relinquish.

Second at this stage was 25-year-old Sofin, outdoing his two morning bests with a hat-trick, while third was Gheorge Guset of Romania, 20.42.

In the second round the medals were effectively decided as Hoffa let fly with his winning throw and Mikhnevich moved into silver with his first PB of the final (21.25), Olsen occupying bronze with a 21.16-put.

In round four Hoffa pushed out another big 21.61 while Mikhnevich went even better to hit 21.37. Though he was never to trouble the American, he punched the air with satisfaction. Thereafter there was to be no change in the medals. It was Hoffa’s day.

“It is the day of career,” said Hoffa. “I won a lot of confidence for championships in future years. I can’t believe it…I feel awesome. My gosh, 22 metres, that is something special. I could not have expected it.”

MB