Gong Lijiao in the shot put final at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

Preview: women's shot put – IAAF World Championships London 2017

After claiming six major silver or bronze medals since the 2008 Olympic Games, will China’s Gong Lijiao finally claim her maiden major title in London?

The 28-year-old has won three stops on the IAAF Diamond League this season and with reigning champion Christina Schwanitz and four-time champion Valerie Adams both absent this season, Gong surely won’t have too many better opportunities to add a global title to her resume.

The only mark on her card was a meagre 17.53m throw in her penultimate competition at her training base in Neubrandenburg, Germany, but that was an anomaly as she went out to a world-leading 20.11m two days later in Bohmenkirch.

The field might be devoid of any past champions but the line-up does include Olympic and world indoor champion Michelle Carter from the United States. Carter was only third at the US Championships, albeit with a solid season’s best of 19.34m, but the 31-year-old is an excellent big-time performer as displayed by her two major wins last year when she produced lifetime bests indoors and outdoors in the sixth rounds of both finals.

Raven Saunders only finished fourth at the NCAA Championships but the 21-year-old went out to a lifetime best of 19.76m to win the US title ahead of Dani Bunch with 19.64m. While Carter has been a mainstay on the US team for the past decade, Saunders and Bunch will be heading to their first World Championships sitting second and third on the world lists.

Another stalwart looking to claim her first global title is Hungary’s Anita Marton, who also has a knack of producing her best performance at the major championships – and often in the sixth round as well. Five of her eight best marks have all been achieved in major championships, including her best of 19.87m set at the Olympic Games last year when she claimed bronze. If Marton does claim the title, she will become Hungary’s first world champion in any discipline, man or woman.

Only seven throwers have surpassed the 19-metre line this year, the other two being Jamaica’s Daniell Thomas and Belarus’ Aliona Dubitskaya.

Steven Mills for the IAAF