Ryan Crouser at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Report: men's shot put qualifying – Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Six men went past the automatic qualifying distance of 20.65m but pride of place went to the US champion Ryan Crouser, who launched his implement out a massive 21.59m with his first attempt in the second qualifying pool.

The put gave notice that despite his lack of senior international experience, having not gone to a major championship since he won the world U18 title in 2009, he should be a factor in the final.

New Zealand’s Tom Walsh quickly qualified for the final later on Thursday when he sent his first effort out to 21.03m in the same pool, both group A and B operating alongside each other.

Getting as much support as possible from the sparse crowd, Brazil’s Darlan Romani impressed when he rose to the occasion and set a national record of 20.94m with his first attempt.

The other man to qualify by right from the second group was the holder of the world U20 best with the senior shot, Poland’s Konrad Bukowiecki. The world U20 champion fouled his first attempt but then found his rhythm and reached 20.71m.

Performances at the sharp end of group A were a little more restrained.

New Zealand’s Jacko Gill made it two men in black in the final when he put 20.80m with his third effort while world champion Joe Kovacs, one of many putters who don’t like getting up too early in the morning, qualified fairly effortlessly with his second-round throw of 20.73m.

Among the non-automatic qualifiers were Germany’s two-time world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist David Storl, another man who is well known for needing a couple of cups of coffee ahead of morning qualifying sessions but who has a knack of getting it together for finals, and two-time defending Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski.

Jamaica’s world bronze medallist O’Dayne Richards, who has been struggling to find his 2015 form this summer, qualified as the 12th and last putter with 20.40m, just scraping into the final ahead of Romania’s world indoor silver medallist Andrei Gag, who also reached 20.40m but lost out on the basis of second-best distances in the qualifying competition.

Crouser's 21.59m was the best ever qualifying mark at a global championships, indoors or outdoors. With 20.40m not being enough to advance, it was the highest quality qualifying round in history.

Inevitably, with 34 men competing across the two groups, there were several men who did not achieve their ambition of making the final.

The most notable casualties were Poland’s European silver medalist Michal Haratyk and Nigeria’s Stephen Mozia, both of whom have surpassed 21 metres this year but who found 20 metres beyond them on Thursday morning.

In fact, no fewer than six men who have thrown beyond 21 metres this year failed to progress to the final, which is scheduled for 2030 local time in Rio on Thursday.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF