Darlan Romani of Brazil caused somewhat of an upset to take the victory in the shot put on the first day of the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava with a best throw of 21.89m.
While he has consistently been among the top putters in the world this year, Romani did not start as favourite in a field that included the reigning Olympic, world and European champions. But the Brazilian came closer to his best than any of the other top men, missing his South American record by just six centimetres.
”I always fight for victory, but it was much more important competing here for Team America,” the happy winner said. "The Continental Cup rules brought some unexpected things. They push you to do better and better as the rivals can overtake you at any moment.”
It was world champion Tomas Walsh who faced the Brazilian in the final round and finished in runner-up spot with 21.43m. Michal Haratyk of Poland took third with a best of 21.36m.
Romani did not have an easy task qualifying for the final phase of the competition, as he had to beat his Americas teammate, the Olympic champion Ryan Crouser to get there. Romani's 21.89m in round two did the job, as the American's best after three rounds was 21.63m. That mark was the second best of the competition, but with the rules allowing only one athlete per team to make the top four, Crouser was left in fifth place.
There was also a good battle between the Europeans, with the Czech Tomas Stanek holding the qualifying position with 21.22m after round two, but seeing himself eliminated by Michal Haratyk's third-round 21.36m.
Walsh and Chukwuebuka Enekwechi of Nigeria were the other two men to go through with identical marks of 20.82m.
Romani, going first in the semifinal round, got out to 21.07m. With Enekwechi fouling out and Walsh reaching 21.00m, the Brazilian was already assured of making the final two. Haratyk could still have pushed Walsh out of a spot in the final, but fell short with 20.77m to take third place.
Romani came close to his best again in the final round with 21.68. Walsh, aware of what was required of him, followed with his best put of the day, but it was not quite enough at 21.43m.
Pawel Jackowski for the IAAF