USA’s Adam Nelson and Nadezhda Ostapchuk of Belarus, currently the 2008 world season leaders respectively in the men’s and women’s Shot Put head an all-star cast at the DN Galan in the Swedish capital which this year has launched a new innovative way to develop athletics.
For the first time at an IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting an event will be contested outside the arena when the world’s best shot putters compete in DN Galan's Big Shot, on Monday 21 July, the evening prior to the main meeting programme which takes place at the 1912 Olympic stadium (Tue 22).
The DN Galan is a Super Grand Prix status meeting within the 2008 IAAF World Athletics Tour.
“We wanted to test the idea of marketing athletics in a different and spectacular way. We got approval from the IAAF, so we are going to build a Shot Put arena in the centre of Kungsträdgården," says Rajne Söderberg, meeting director of DN Galan.
2007 World champion Reese Hoffa, who won the US Olympic trials last week with 22.10m, can expect tough competition from fellow countrymen Adam Nelson, the 2005 World champion whose season’s lead is just 2cm further than Hoffa's trials result, and Christian Cantwell, the 2004 and 2008 World Indoor champion. These three men are the USA’s trio for the Beijing Olympics.
The women’s field is equally impressive with world season leader Nadezhda Ostapchuk of Belarus, the 2005 World Championship gold medallist, against Nadine Kleinert of Germany, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist.
Big Shot is also about DN Galan's continued development to becoming the best meeting in athletics.
“The goal is to further develop the event during 2009 so that in 2010 we can obtain membership in the Golden League," says Rajne Söderberg.
A Shot Put circle, and a stand for 500 spectators will be built in Kungsträdgården which is in the very centre of Stockholm, and the competition will be covered by Swedish television.
But the occasion is not only about the world’s best.
The ‘Youth Shot’, which is part of DN Galan Youth programme, is for boys and girls of 13-19 years of age and will also take part on 21 July (the other youth events will be contested at Stockholm Olympic Stadium, July 23-24). The start list includes almost all the shot putters in the country who top their respective age group lists.
In fact anybody who visits Kungsträdgården is welcome to give the Shot Put a try!
Keijo Liimatainen for the IAAF