Shot putters, generally, are not morning people and it showed on Sunday as only three men passed the automatic qualifying distance of 20.65m, with USA's world leader Joe Kovacs leading in pole position with 21.36m.
The first man to make his mark was Kovacs’ compatriot Reese Hoffa, the 2007 world champion sending his implement out to 20.75m to make it a short morning’s work. The 37-year-old is looking to get back on the podium after three successive fourth-place finishes following his triumph in Osaka.
Germany’s two-time world champion David Storl, throwing a few minutes later in an adjacent ring, showed his competitive mettle by almost nonchalantly reaching 21.26m to also qualify comfortably.
Kovacs needed two attempts to join them, after his first attempt of 20.28m almost dribbled out of his hand, relatively speaking, although it would have actually have been good enough to qualify.
However, he made sure of his place in the final later on Sunday with a second-round effort of 21.36m, exuding confidence and composure in his first global championship.
Behind the leading three, many of the other world’s leading big men seemed to be having a slight problem waking up.
The best of the rest was Argentina’s German Lauro, seventh in Moscow two years ago, who reached 20.64m with his first effort. After fouling his second attempt, and realising that his opening attempt would be enough to see him through to the final, he passed his third put.
Slightly further down the list of qualifiers with 20.47m, Asian champion Inderjeet Singh became the first Indian to make the final in this event with the second-best mark of his career.
USA’s 2009 world champion Christian Cantwell had some technical problems with his initial two attempts but his third effort hit the turf at 20.63m and so he added his name to the list of finalists.
However, his team-mate Jordan Clarke, who has been beyond 21 metres several times this year, couldn’t make it four US putters in the final. He only had a best effort of 19.89m to his name and finished 13th out of the qualifiers.
Spain’s European silver medallist Borja Vivas was another notable name to miss out, along with Poland’s world junior champion Konrad Bukowiecki and Bulgaria's 2004 world junior champion Georgi Ivanov, with neither of the latter pair recording a valid mark.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF