Ryan Crouser in the shot put at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (© Getty Images)
On paper, it looks likely to be a battle between US duo Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs – the top two from the Rio Olympics last year – as the pair own the top nine marks in the world in 2017, half a metre clear of their nearest challenger.
First and second at the US Championships, Crouser set a personal best and championship record of 22.65m en route to victory, while world champion Kovacs set a personal best of 22.57m in Tucson, Arizona earlier this season. These performances have moved the pair to seventh and ninth respectively on the world all-time list.
So although a US one-two looks likely, the battle for bronze looks much more open. Third on the 2017 world list with 22.06m is Olympic bronze medallist Tom Walsh, while the only other athlete beyond 22 metres in 2017 is Tomas Stanek, although the Czech athlete has yet to produce his best at an outdoor global championships.
Although arguably not in his best form so far in 2017 – his season's best being 21.87m – given his major championships pedigree, it would be foolish to discount Germany's David Storl, the world champion from 2011 and 2013 and silver medallist two years ago.
Another athlete who despite not yet showing his best form in 2017 should not be ruled out based on his major championships record is Ryan Whiting of the US, twice the world indoor champion and world outdoor silver medallist from Moscow in 2013. Jamaica's O'Dayne Richards, the bronze medallist from 2015, improved his national record this season throwing 21.96m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat.
Others likely to feature include another US thrower, Darrell Hill, who has thrown a 21.91m personal best in 2017; Olympic fifth placer Darlan Romani of Brazil, another athlete in personal best form courtesy of his 21.82m from earlier in the season; New Zealand's twice world junior champion Jacko Gill; Poland's European indoor champion Konrad Bukowiecki; and Tsanko Arnaudov of Portugal. The latter two have both bettered 21.50m this year.
Emily Moss for the IAAF