Ryan Whiting leads the 2013 world lists as the only man over 22 metres this year, and he quickly showed just why he is the favourite to add a gold medal at these championships to the one he won at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
He stepped straight into the circle for Thursday’s Shot Put qualifying competition and launched his 16lb implement out to 21.51m, the second best distance achieved in a World Championships qualifying competition and well over the automatic qualifying distance of 20.65m, as well as being the longest mark of the morning.
Only three other men qualified automatically, and only Czech Republic’s Ladislav Prasil also did it with his first attempt, leading the other group from the one in which Whiting was competing in simultaneously, with an effort of 20.90m.
Germany’s David Storl and Poland’s Tomasz Majewski, winners of the past two outdoor global titles having taken the honours at the 2011 IAAF World Championships and London 2012 Olympic Games respectively, both lacked a little energy at the outset but soon woke up; Majewski hitting 20.76m with his second put and Storl reaching 20.71m on this third attempt, although their earlier efforts would also have seen them through to the final safely.
In the end, 11 men went over 20 metres, including USA’s 2007 World champion Reese Hoffa and his compatriot Cory Martin, Bulgaria’s former World junior champion Georgi Ivanov, Canada’s Dylan Armstrong, Serbia’s 2013 European Indoor champion Asmir Kolasinac and Argentina’s South American record-holder German Lauro.
Antonin Zalsky brought up the rear of the 12 qualifiers, the 33-year-old Czech putter finally making a World Championships final on his fourth attempt with 19.78m.
The qualifying went very much to form as nine of the top 10 men entered went through, the only exception being USA’s Zack Lloyd.
Lloyd, who achieved a personal best of 21.07m to finish third at the US Championships and qualify for his first major international competition, could do no better than a modest 18.63m.
Local hope Maksim Sidorov will also be disappointed that he was below par and failed to qualify for the final after only putting 19.63m.
In fact, it was a poor morning for the Russians as neither of Sidorov’s team-mates, Aleksandr Lesnoy and Soslan Tsirkhov, were in good form either and, slightly surprisingly, there will not be a representative from the host nation in the final.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF