Piotr Malachowski at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (© Getty Images / AFP)
World champion Piotr Malachowski of Poland led qualifying in the men’s discus in the morning session of the first day at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with 65.89m on his second attempt. Joining Malachowski as the only other automatic qualifier was Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger, also in the first group, at 65.86m.
The automatic qualifying standard was 65.50m.but it was always likely that there would be only a few men over that distance once rain started to fall hard just before the first group got underway and the discus circle became slippery and challenging, after the throwers had warmed up in dry conditions.
The usual 12 men advanced and a mark of 62.68m was ultimately only needed to advance. Five athletes qualified from the first group and seven from the second.
One notable casualty in the first group was IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 seventh-place finisher Frederick Dacres of Jamaica, who is currently fourth on the 2016 world list with 68.02m but fouled twice and could only manage a modest 50.69m effort with his third and final effort.
The rain had largely stopped by the start of Group B, although the circle was still damp.
This second group was led by Christoph Harting of Germany, at 65.41m the third-longest thrower of the qualifying rounds. Lithuania’s Andreas Gudzius also surpassed the 65m mark at 65.18m.
Belgium’s Philip Milanov, the silver medallist behind Malachowski in Beijing, struggled but went through to Saturdays’ final as the last qualifier with 62.68m.
Notable among those not advancing from Group B were defending Olympic champion Robert Harting of Germany, London silver medalist Ehsan Hadadi of Iran, Beijing bronze medalist Robert Urbanek of Poland, and London finalist Vikas Gowda of India.
Harting faced a similar situation to Dacres, fouling his first two attempts and before reaching 62.21m in the third round, and the defence of his Olympic title came to an end.
Estonia’s popular 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 bronze medallist Gerd Kanter moved through to the final, however, reaching 64.02m on his second attempt in the first group.
Parker Morse for the IAAF