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Men's SHOT PUT qualification REPORT

In the heat of the late morning sunshine the men were under much greater stress in terms of the blisteringly hot weather than the women qualifiers who competed earlier this morning in Olympia.

Reigning Olympic and World silver medallist Adam Nelson (USA) however was not in any mood to consider such minor inconveniences, and spectacularly heaved a marvellous second round 21.15m to automatically qualify (his first round was a foul).

Nelson was one of six men to surpass the 20.40 minimum which guaranteed passage to tonight’s Final (1730hrs).

Nelson headed Pool A, while Denmark’s European silver medallist Joachim Olsen with a solid 20.78 topped the other group, and had the second best performance overall of the morning.

Germany’s Ralf Bartels who had surprisingly snatched the European bronze behind Olsen and Ukraine’s Yuriy Bilonog in 2002, was in championship groove again with a best of 20.65, the third best of today. The Ukrainian European champion just mentioned followed closely with 20.61. Both these men were competing in Nelson’s pool.

John Godina, the former three-time World champion also went through thanks to a 20.53 performance having opened with a lowly 19.73. However, the third American, Reese Hoffa, who has a season's best of 21.67, and was the third longest thrower on today’s start list did not make the cut with just 19.40.

The sixth automatic qualifier was Australia’s Commonwealth champion Justin Anlezark with 20.45.

Making up the numbers were 2003 World Indoor champion Manuel Martinez of Spain (20.37), Slovak Mikulas Konopka (20.32), Czech Petr Stehlik (20.06), Yuriy Belov of Belarus (20.06) and Slovenia’s Miran Vodovnik (20.04).

Also slipping into the final as the ninth best of the day was the reigning World champion Andrey Mikhnevich, who put together three nearly matching 20m puts (20.10, 20.11, 20.09). However, the Belarussian will need to up his game this evening if he is to figure in the medal battle.

Besides Hoffa who we have already mentioned, the other main surprises were the non-qualifications of both the South African and Finnish athletes, and of the newly established South American record holder (21.14) Marco Verni, who could manage no registered mark today.