Tatyana Lysenko of Russia celebrates with her gold medal, Betty Heidler of Germany her silver and Wenxiu Zhang of China her bronze in the medal ceremony for the women's hammer throw final (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Women's Hammer Throw – Preview

Expectations will be high of a home victory as the host nation Russia boast three of the top five throwers in the world this year.

Leading their challenge is the formidable World and Olympic champion Tatyana Lysenko, who will start as the pre-event favourite.

The 29-year-old opened the season modestly but in her final pre-World Championship outing, she rediscovered her best by launching the Hammer out to a world-leading mark of 78.15m at the Russian Championships.

As a further demonstration of the quality of the throw, it was the eighth longest in history and sets up Lysenko perfectly for a successful defence of her World title.

The powerful Russian team is further strengthened by the twin threat of Anna Bulgakova and Oksana Kondratyeva.

Bulgakova, the 2012 European bronze medallist, illustrated her medal-winning capabilities by throwing a lifetime best of 76.17m to finish runner-up behind Lysenko at the Russian Championships in Moscow last month.

The more experienced Kondratyeva set a personal best of 77.13m back in late June, a performance which places her second on the 2013 world Lists. Since then she landed a silver medal at the World University Games in Kazan and placed third at the Russian Championships and she could also contend.

To further beef up the Russian presence, the 2006 European silver medallist Gulfiya Khanafeyeva has also been selected.

The main threat to the home challenge will come from two former World champions in Anita Wlodarczyk and Betty Heidler.

Wlodarczyk, from Poland, landed this title in 2009, setting what was then a World record.

She also won the Olympic silver medal last year to show she should be a major force.

The 27-year-old has slowly improved this season, finishing second at the European Team Championships in Gateshead, but in her most recent competition, the Polish Championships, she registered a season’s best mark of 76.93m.

Heidler, the World record-holder, will also be a big threat. 

The German secured the World title in 2007 and won successive silver medals at the 2009 and 2011 editions, and took the bronze behind Lysenko and Wlodarcyzk in London last summer. She is unbeaten for the 2013 campaign and, with a season’s best mark of 76.48m, expect the flame-haired thrower to be in contention.

The USA has never had a higher finish than seventh in this event at a World Championships, but hopes are high the Moscow edition could reap a better result. Amanda Bingson made almost a three-metre advance on her previous best when winning the US Championships and the 23-year-old, who set a national record of 75.73m that day, is another to be watched. Her team-mate Jeneva McCall, who has a best of 74.00m and landed the World University Games title last month, is another with good credentials.

Belarus’ Aksana Miankova, the 2008 Olympic champion, is another who could threaten at her best. Meanwhile, China’s two-time former World bronze medallist Zhang Wenxiu should not be underestimated. Her season’s best is 74.18m, although she has only competed three times in 2013.

Other competitors in the field include five-time Venezuelan champion Rosa Rodriguez (73.64m), British record-holder and recently crowned European under-23 champion Sophie Hitchon (72.97m), Hungarian record-holder Eva Orban (73.44m), Germanys’ Kathrin Klaas (72.57m), who finished fifth at the 2012 Olympics, and Slovakia’s 2009 World bronze medallist Martina Hrasnova (72.41m).

Also entered is Cuba’s three-time former World champion Yipsi Moreno, who took the honours in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

Click here for OFFICIAL ENTRIES in the Moscow 2013 Athletes’ section.

Steve Landells for the IAAF