You have to go back to 14 March to find the last defeat on Pawel Fajdek’s otherwise unblemished record in 2015, so it is hard to bet against the Pole retaining his world title in Beijing.
Since that sole defeat – to Olympic and European champion Krisztian Paris of Hungary – Fajdek has racked up 15 successive victories to establish an a firm grip on the global hammer-throwing scene.
As a further measure of his dominance, he is the only man this year to throw beyond 80 metres with his 83.93m effort in his last pre-Beijing competition in Szczecin a Polish record and the longest throw in the world for more than seven years, elevating him to 10th on the world all-time list.
His main rival is likely to by Pars, the 2011 and 2013 world silver medallist. However, the 33-year-old world No.2 may need to improve upon his season’s best of 79.24m should he want to upgrade to gold in Beijing.
Fajdek apart, the overall quality of the men’s hammer in 2015 has been a little underwhelming and identifying the best of the rest is a tricky exercise.
Among the older hands keen to make their presence felt in the Bird’s Nest Stadium will be Russian champion and European bronze medallist Sergey Litvinov, son of Sergey snr, the winner of this title in 1983 and 1987.
The bronze medallist from the 2013 World Championships, Lukas Melich, also competes, although the Czech has yet to show the form this year that swept him to that podium spot.
Dilshod Nazarov, the fifth-place finisher in Moscow, is a consistent performer and the man from Tajikistan with a season’s best of 79.36m can be a factor.
Some other names seeking to make a mark include the African record-holder and world No.3 Mostafa Elgamel of Egypt and Qatar’s exciting young talent Ashraf Amgad Elseify. The 20-year-old world junior champion set a national record of 78.04m in Germany last month and it will be interesting to monitor his progress in the Bird’s Nest Stadium.
Other throwers worthy of a mention include Ukrainian champion Yevgen Vynogradov, Moldova’s Serghei Marghiev and Poland’s Wojciech Nowicki.
Also entered is two-time world champion Ivan Tsikhan of Belarus, who hurled the hammer out to a best of 77.46m in his one competition to date this year.
Steve Landells for the IAAF