Daegu, Korea - We had a grand total of 78 throws taken during a qualification competition involving 30 women yet it was the very first of these by Wenxiu Zhang that proved the longest.
The 2007 World bronze medallist launched the hammer out to a mighty 74.17m with the opening throw in pool A – as the Chinese athlete led the qualifiers in the manner she would have dreamt of when she set her alarm clock last night.
In fact, it was a high quality session in which we had the highest ever non-qualification mark in this event at a World Championships set by the unfortunate Eva Orban of Hungary (68.89) not to mention eight women beyond the automatic standard of 71.00m
Next best behind Wenxiu was Yipsi Moreno, who is chasing a record breaking fifth medal in this event at a World Championships. The Cuban, who took World gold in 2001 and 2003, looked good thanks to a 73.29m first effort to lead the pool B qualifiers.
The former World record holder Tatyana Lysenko of Russia needed only one attempt to qualify with the hammer thumping into the grass at 71.94m. It was similarly straight for Betty Heidler the world No.1. The German who set a World record in Halle in May and is unbeaten since March comfortably progressed with a first round 71.48m.
Defending champion Anita Wlodarczyk will also take her place in the final after registering 71.09m with her opening throw. The Pole has competed sparingly this season after a number of injury problems but will be relieved to be in a position to mount a serious defence.
South American record holder Jennifer Dahlgren of Argentina impressed, setting a season’s best of 72.70m with her final throw to also advance.
World No.3 Kathrin Klaas (71.69m) needed three attempts to secure the automatic standard and the German qualifies for the medal round. The eighth athlete to gain the automatic standard was US champion Jessica Cosby (71.06m).
Steve Landells for the IAAF