Sophie Hitchon in the hammer at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report London, UK

Report: women's hammer qualification – IAAF World Championships London 2017

It was business as usual for Poland's world record holder Anita Wlodarczyk, who made light work of qualification with a 74.61m throw in the opening round. Six metres clear at the top of the 2017 world list and possessing the seven farthest throws in 2017, the twice Olympic, twice world and three-time European champion will start Monday's final as the strong favourite to retain her title from Beijing in 2015.

However, it was Wlodarczyk's Polish team-mate, Malwina Kopron, the 2011 world U18 silver medallist, who recorded the furthest throw of qualification --albeit in much more favourable conditions in the earlier qualifying group-- launching the hammer out to 74.97m in the opening round. The 22-year-old is clearly in the form of her life, having set a personal best of 75.11m for second at the Polish Championships, a throw which moved her to third on the Polish all-time list.

British record holder Sophie Hitchon, the Olympic bronze medallist, was another athlete to impress, throwing 73.05m in the opening round.

The world bronze medallist from 2015, Alexandra Tavernier of France and Belarus' Hanna Malyshik also bettered 72 metres in round one, with throws of 72.69m and 72.79m respectively. US bronze medallist Deanna Price needed two attempts to get beyond the automatic qualifying distance of 72.50m but threw 72.78m in the second round to ease her way into the final.

Zheng Wang was the first to hit an automatic qualifier with 71.89m in the first round of group A.  Third in the world rankings in 2017, the Chinese thrower who placed fourth in the IAAF World Championships in 2013, will be hoping for better luck than in the Olympic Games last year, when she failed to record a valid mark in the final.

Other automatic qualifiers were European bronze medallist Hanna Skydan of Azerbaijan (71.78m) and Joanna Fiodorow (71.72m), the latter ensuring three Polish athletes will be taking their place in the final.

World and Olympic silver medallist, Zhang Wenxiu, threw 71.89m to make her 11th consecutive global championships final as a non-automatic qualifier

Former world U20 champion Katerina Šafránková of the Czech Republic and Germany's Kathrin Klaas – sixth in the IAAF World Championships in 2015 -  secured the remaining two non-automatic qualifying spots, after throwing 70.67m and 70.33 respectively.

Second on the world lists in 2017 with 76.77m, US Champion Gwen Berry was the most notable name to miss out on qualification for the final after throwing just 69.12m.

Emily Moss for the IAAF