Robert Harting in the men's discus at the IAAF World Championships, Moscow 2013
Three men went over the automatic qualifying distance of 65.00m and all three did so on their first attempt, making it a quick morning’s work on Monday for Germany’s reigning Olympic, World and European champion Robert Harting, Poland’s 2013 world leader and 2010 European champion Piotr Malachowski and Estonia’s 2008 Olympic Games gold medallist Gerd Kanter.
Harting led the way with 66.62m to reinforce his position as the favourite in Tuesday’s final but his younger brother Christoph missed out by 17cm on accompanying him in the final after finishing 13th overall in the qualifying competition with 62.28m.
Among the other men who fell by the wayside were Australia’s Benn Harradine, third on the 2013 world list after his Oceania record of 68.20m earlier in the summer but who has been struggling with a back problem recently and failed to go farther than 59.68m.
By contrast, his young team-mate Julian Wruck bounced back from a disappointing London 2012 Olympic Games when he failed to qualify for the final and, at 22 years and 37 days, became the youngest man ever to qualify for an IAAF World Championships Discus final.
Almost twice his age, Lithuania’s 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games winner Virgilijus Alekna was unable to achieve a similar accolade and become the oldest man to make a final.
Now 41, Alekna had three throws over 61 metres but his best only went out to 61.91m and he was 16th overall. It brought to an end his magnificent streak of making the final, indeed the top six, of 17 major international championships stretching back to the 1996 Olympic Games.
Another man who might have expected to do better was Great Britain’s Brett Morse, who has thrown 66.84m this season for eighth place on the 2013 list but could do no better than 59.23m.
No less than 10 different nationalities will be represented in the final. Germany, thanks to Harting and Martin Wierig, and Spain, with the evergreen and consistent duo of Frank Casanas and Mario Pestano, will be the only nations with more than one representative.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF