The girls’ shot put is shaping into a battle between the two most consistent putters in the world, Montenegro’s Kristina Rakocevic and Germany’s Julia Ritter.
Rakocevic, who celebrated her 17th birthday one month ago and is also a medal contender in the discus, arrives as the world youth leader with the 3kg shot courtesy of her 18.56m effort at home in Bar in early March.
However, that’s her only competition beyond 18 metres, with her more recent efforts of 17.60m and 17.56m perhaps a better indication of her pre-championships form.
Ritter meanwhile has gone beyond 18 metres on four occasions, with 18.51m from a May youth meeting in Halle her best, backed up by 18.39m and 18.35m performances, which puts her in the favourite’s role.
Look for US No.1 Sophia Rivera to also challenge for a podium spot as she arrives in Cali on the heels of her 18.09m personal best set on 1 July.
Like Rakocevic, Rivera too has double duty after taking the US title in the javelin throw as well.
Others to watch include two of the top four from last year’s Youth Olympic Games final in Nanjing: Mexican silver medallist Maria Fernanda Orozco of Mexico (best of 17.55m) and Poland’s Maja Slepowronska, who was fourth and has reached 17.41m this year.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF