Reese Hoffa, winner of the men's Shot (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Hoffa joins Melbourne field - IAAF World Challenge

Former world Shot Put champion Reese Hoffa of the USA is set to add some heavyweight pulling power to the 2011 Australian Athletics Tour with appearances at next month’s Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart and at the IAAF Melbourne Track Classic in March.?

The Melbourne Track Classic, set for Thursday, 3 March, kicks off the 14-meeting 2011 IAAF World Challenge.

?Thirty-three-year-old Hoffa, who won the 2006 World indoor crown and took gold at the 2007 World Championships, will make his debut appearance on Australian soil at the Briggs Athletics Classic on Sunday, 20 February.??

In 2010 Hoffa managed to beat fellow American and world No. 1 Christian Cantwell, scoring a win over the reigning World indoor and outdoor champion in London and at the final leg of the Samsung Diamond League series in Brussels with a meet record heave of 22.16m.??

The world No. 2 will prove fierce competition for Australian young gun Dale Stevenson, who took bronze in the shot put at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October and now has his sights set on qualification for the 2011 IAAF world championships in Daegu in August.??

Stevenson said he was buoyed by the opportunity to compete against a former world champion.

??“I am ecstatic that Reese will be coming out for our new-look domestic season,” he said.??

“Since spending some time with his coach, Don Babbitt, in 2010, I’ve been hoping to catch up with Reese and spend some time training and competing together.??

“Reese is renowned as being one of the best exponents of rotational shot put the world has ever seen and I have personally used him as a technical model upon which to base my throwing. Having him compete in Australia will be a great chance to further my understanding of the event and perhaps a chance to chalk up a win over a world champion!”??

While in Australia Hoffa will conduct clinics in both Hobart and Melbourne with coaches and athletes from within the elite throws community.??

Hoffa joins world 800m record-holder and reigning World Athlete of the Year David Rudisha of Kenya on the list of big-name international athletes bound for the 2011 Australian Athletics Tour. Further athlete announcements will be made in coming weeks.

Athletics Australia for the IAAF