Valerie Adams has won everything that the sport has to offer but still wants more and is the overwhelming favourite for this event.
In addition to winning two Olympic titles in Beijing and London, the New Zealander has taken the gold medal at the last three IAAF World Championships. A win in Moscow would make her the only woman to have won four World titles outdoors, which would give her a decent claim to being the discipline’s greatest exponent ever.
Her winning streak currently stands at 38 and she showed that she’s rounding into her best form with a winning effort, and season’s best, of 20.90m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London at the end of last month.
She won in the British capital by more than a metre to demonstrate in literal and metaphorical terms just how much distance there is between her and the best of the rest of the leading women’s shot putters at the moment.
It is worth remembering that Adams set her Oceania record of 21.24m when winning her 2011 World title in Daegu but, as one of the heaviest favourites for any event in Moscow, she will probably not need to be at her best to take her fourth title.
Immediately behind Adams on the 2013 world list is Michelle Carter, who improved the US record to 20.24m when winning at the US Championships in June.
Carter, now 27, is an experienced international campaigner and got a bronze medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships but now stands the best chance of her life of emulating her famous father Michael, who won the Shot Put silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games, by taking a medal outdoors at a global championship.
Carter’s main rival for what is expected to be a battle for the silver medal could be Germany’s Christina Schwanitz.
Schwanitz has admitted that in the past she has suffered from nerves in big competitions but she has resolved her mental problems, and also had corrective surgery to remove pins in her feet from previous operations, to have her best year in the sport.
She won the European indoor title in March and went over 20 metres for the first time when winning, in the absence of Adams, at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai with a personal best of 20.20m.
Schwanitz went over 20 metres again when she won at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo a few weeks later.
The fourth woman over 20 metres this year is China’s 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Gong Lijiao, who reached 20.12m when finishing second behind Adams in Eugene, her only competition outside of China this year.
Gong, still only 24, is a consistent performer at the highest level, having won the bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships and then finishing fourth two years ago.
Definitely not to be forgotten as well is Russia’s 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist Yevgeniya Kolodko, who will obviously want to do well in front of her family and friends, which will include her father and coach Nikolay.
She set her personal best of 20.48m in London and won the silver medal behind Schwanitz at the European Athletics Indoor Championships. She showed that, like many Russian athletes, she is finding her best form at the right time by producing a season’s best of 19.86m when winning at the Russian Championships last month.
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Phil Minshull for the IAAF