Pawel Fajdek in the hammer final at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

Preview: men's hammer – IAAF World Championships London 2017

In possession of the eight longest throws in the world in 2017 and three metres clear at the top of the 2017 world list, it would be hard to bet against Poland's Pawel Fajdek retaining his title in London and making it three consecutive world victories after striking gold in Moscow in 2013 and Beijing in 2015.

However, despite his World Championships record, the Pole experienced a big dent to his armour when failing to qualify for the final at the Olympics in Rio last year. In 2017, after 12 consecutive wins – 10 of which were beyond 80m – he was beaten at his National Championships by Wojciech Nowicki, 80.47m to 78.64m.

Nowicki is also a fine major championship performer, taking bronze at both the 2015 World Championships and last year's Olympics. Given that Nowicki is almost two metres clear of anyone else in the world, a Polish one-two looks a definite possibility, but which way round?

Although short of his best so far in 2017, it would be foolish to discard Dilshod Nazarov based on his experience and major championships record. The athlete from Tajikstan took silver in 2015, before going one better to take gold in the Rio.

Another athlete able to draw on his wealth of experience is 2011 and 2013 world silver medallist Krisztian Pars of Hungary, although the 35-year-old would need to significantly improve his season's best of 76.84m in order to feature. Esraf Apak from Turkey is another 35-year-old who can call on experience. Although since taking Olympic silver in Athens 2004, he has only once qualified for a major championships final, and has thrown 78.00m in 2017.

Third on the world list is neutral athete Valeriy Pronkin. The 23-year-old has thrown a personal best of 78.90m this year, but is inexperienced in major championships and is yet to really prove his mettle. World U20 champion Bence Halasz of Hungary has also thrown a big personal best of 78.85m this year for fourth on the world list and could well feature.

Other contenders include Belarusian pair Pavel Bareisha (78.04m) and Siarhei Kalamoyets (77.52m), Slovakia's Marcel Lomnicky (77.92m) and Moldova's Serghei Marghiev (77.70m).

As is often the case, it appears relatively certain that the event will be dominated by European athletes. Aside from Nazarov, Brazil's Wagner Domingos looks likely to be the best of the rest of the world, sitting 16th on the world list.

Emily Moss for the IAAF