The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
The British summer has thrown up a lot of things this Olympic fortnight. Thunderstorms, driving rain, cool biting winds and to be fair a good deal of sunshine but unless an earthquake is delivered upon Shakespeare’s 'scepter'd isle" nothing is going to prevent the women’s Shot being an exclusive duel between Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus and New Zealand’s Valerie Adams.
It is always risky in sport, especially Athletics to say nothing else is possible and with the New Zealand team delegation initially forgetting to complete some of the entry formalities it must be noted that Adams nearly didn't make it to qualification at all.
But with all due respect to the other 10 finalists, no one else has a chance to challenge for gold this evening. Of the top ten competitions in the world in 2012 coming into today’s qualification these two women own them all (6 – 4 in Adams’ favour).
Both protagonists who were putting in Group A of two pools passed through qualification with ease. Ostapchuk whose national record of 21.58 leads this year’s world lists, pounded out 20.76 on her first attempt and while Adams needed two puts, her second was 20.40, the manner in which she purposely foot fouled her first round effort which was just below the 18.90 automatic qualification mark said it all.
The New Zealander is the defending champion and while anything of 18.45 and beyond would eventually make tonight’s 12 woman final, she was not going to have her card spoiled with anything below 20 metres.
No one else came close to 20m today but then again they were not required to and it can’t be denied that finishing behind the leading players in Group A that Ling Li of China with her 19.23 in the second round looked good. The 27-year-old Chinese has a season’s best of 20.21 (4th in the world).
The other 20m putter of this season Evgeniia Kolodko of Russia led Group B with 19.31, with two other women automatically qualifying, Lijiao Gong (19.11) and Xiangrong Liu (18.96). In the battle for bronze China has a trio of the highest calibre.
Russia will have a second finalist with Irina Tarasova (18.96) who led the best of the rest, as will Belarus with Natallia Mikhnevich, the Beijing silver medallist, joining Ostapchuk thanks to an 18.60 best today.
USA’s Michelle Carter (18.63), Germany’s Christina Schwanitz (18.62), Geisa Arcanjo of Brazil (18.47) and Chile’s Natalia Duco (18.45) make up the final.
Missing the cut were USA’s Jillian Camarena-Williams (18.22), the World bronze medallist last year who has put 19.82 this year, Germany’s newly crowned European champion Nadine Kleinert (18.36) who was 2004 Olympic silver medallist, and Cuba’s Misleydis Gonzalez (17.68), the fourth place finisher in Beijing.