Sunday, 09 August 2009

Men's Shot Put - PREVIEW

Tomasz Majewski unleashes his 21.95m heave in Stockholm  (Hasse Sjögren)

Tomasz Majewski unleashes his 21.95m heave in Stockholm (Hasse Sjögren)


    • Reese Hoffa extends the FBK Stadium record beyond 21m in Hengelo
    • 21.82m heave for Christian Cantwell to take the win in London
    The USA boast a powerful quartet as they seek to secure this title for a sixth time in the last seven editions, although Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski could be the man to stop them.

    The Olympic champion Majewski, 27, catapulted to the top of the World Lists with a massive new national record of 21.95m in Stockholm, where he beat many of the big rivals he is likely to face in Berlin.

    The giant Pole finished third in London last month but has been beyond 21m regularly this season. Besides his impressive triumph in the Bird’s Nest Stadium last year he also landed the European Indoor title in Turin earlier this year and he is starting to build a formidable reputation for delivering at major championships.

    Reigning champion Reese Hoffa leads the US assault as he bids to become the third man to mount a successful defence of this title. His season’s best mark of 21.89m was achieved back in Eugene in early June and he has not won a competition since. However, even in defeat the powerful Hoffa has always been competitive and will not roll over without a fight.

    US Champion Christian Cantwell is also expected to pose a serious gold medal challenge. The Olympic silver medallist has twice thrown 21.82m this season and on the latter occasion defeated both Hoffa and Majewski in London. He has yet to deliver the elusive gold medal at a global championship that he has the talent to deliver.

    Dan Taylor has made a big improvement this season and could also be a factor. He threw a lifetime best of 21.78m in Tucson in May and finished runner-up to Cantwell at the US Nationals. Since then, however, Taylor has competed sparingly and finished some way off the pace in London and Barcelona – his only two European appearances so far this year.

    The 2005 World champion Adam Nelson completes the US set, although after finishing fourth at the US Trials he only secured selection by virtue of Hoffa taking up a wildcard as a defending World champion. Nelson is a consistent championship performer, however, a season’s best of 21.07m suggests he had yet to find his best form.

    The 2003 World champion Andrei Mikhnevich has been a major accumulator of championship medals, winning bronze at the 2007 Worlds and the same colour medal at last summer’s Olympic Games. He has a season’s best of 21.02m and the Belarus athlete is capable of mounting the medal podium again in Berlin.

    Germany’s European indoor bronze medallist Ralf Bartels (21.11m) will also hope to land precious metal and will not be lacking in home support inside the Olympic Stadium.

    Canada’s Dylan Armstrong was a surprising fourth place finisher at last year’s Olympic Games with a PB of 21.04m and will be seeking a similar level of performance in Berlin.

    Maksim Sidorov (20.92m) leads the Russian assault. Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Hebshi of Saudi Arabia stands fifth on the World Lists with a 21.13m effort in Doha in May. However, the 2006 Asian Games champion has yet to go beyond 20m since that competition.

    Steve Landells for the IAAF