Gong Lijiao and Christina Schwanitz were clear favourites coming into the final, the main question was whether the home crowd would give the Chinese putter that special boost to help her capture her first global title.
After watching her main rivals, Schwanitz and Michelle Carter conquer the 19-metre mark in the first round with 19.80m and 19.45m respectively, the 2013 bronze medallist opened with 20.30m, her second-best effort this season.
This early statement from Gong marked the beginning of a captivating duel.
The German improved in the second round, when her implement landed right on the 20-metre line and Gong responded with another solid toss, 20.05m.
However, in the absence of her injured long-time nemesis and four-time champion Valerie Adams, Schwanitz wasn’t going to settle for second, like she had to do two years ago in Moscow.
In the third round, the German reached 20.37m to take the lead.
This throw was a game changer. Gong, who looked bullish while in the lead, seemed to cave in under the pressure being the one chasing. She kept nervously stepping on the stop-board after not seeing any improvement in her following three attempts.
It was finally Schwanitz’s time to shine.
She won the global title in her fifth IAAF World Championships appearance although it should be noted that her 20.37m is the shortest winning world championships winning distance since 1999.
Carter spent the whole final in third place.
The American had a strong series with 19.76m in the third round and 19.71m with her last attempt to cement her bronze medal. It was Carter’s first major medal outdoors to go with her world indoor bronze from 2012.
Hungary’s Anita Marton, in fourth, improved her personal best by 44 cm, setting a national record of 19.48m.
China’s Yang Gao, the 2012 world junior championships silver medallist, surpassed 19 metres for the first time in her career, posting 19.04m for fifth place.
Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF