It may have taken the defending champion two throws to find his groove, but event favourite Pawel Fajdek of Poland threw the second furthest in qualification with 76.82m. It was a distance only bettered by his team-mate – and perhaps biggest challenger to gold - Wojciech Nowicki, who launched his implement out to 76.85m in the later qualifying group.
Owning the eight longest throws in the world this year and three metres clear at the top of the 2017 world list, Fajdek is one of the biggest favourites in any event to take victory at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 and make it three consecutive world victories after striking gold in Moscow in 2013 and Beijing in 2015.
However, despite his dominance and World Championships record, Fajdek has suffered his fair share of mishaps on the global stage, failing to qualify for the final at both the Olympics Games in London five years ago and again in Rio last year. In 2017, after 12 consecutive wins – 10 of which were beyond 80m – he was beaten at the Polish Championships by Nowicki, 80.47m to 78.64m.
"The whole year, I was only looking forward to this qualification. It was a crucial moment for me because I still remember that I didn't make the final in London 2012. It put a bit of pressure on me. I know I am the best, but still, to win this world title will be hard,” explained Fajdek.
Nowicki - the bronze medallist at both the 2015 World Championships and last year's Olympics – is a supreme global championships performer and here at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, the 28-year-old made light work of qualification, throwing 76.85m in the opening round, which was the only automatic qualifying throw from his pool.
Based on form in qualification and the fact that Nowicki is a further two metres clear of anyone else in the 2017 world list, a Polish one-two looks a definite possibility, but the medals are far from clear-cut.
Former European U20 champion Quentin Bigot was another to breeze through qualification with 76.11m, marking himself as a medal contender for Friday's final.
2016 World U20 champion and recently crowned European U23 champion Bence Halász of Hungary threw 75.56m in the opening round to secure his place, whilst neutral athlete Aleksei Sokyrskii – fourth in the Olympic Games last year – made sure of his place with 75.50m.
British record-holder Nick Miller made full use of the home crowd support, heaving the hammer out to 75.52m with his first throw.
Belarus' Pavel Bareisha soared past the automatic qualifying mark in round three with 75.98m to make his first global championships final.
After a foul in the first round, Tajikstan's Dilshod Nazarov threw 75.52m for automatic qualification in round two. Based on his major championships record and experience - he took silver in 2015, before upgrading to gold in Rio at the Olympic Games last year – the 35-year-old may well feature in the medals again.
Another 35-year-old - 2011 and 2013 world silver medallist Krisztian Pars of Hungary – failed to qualify for the final.
Emily Moss for the IAAF