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Previews14 Mar 2022

Top putters fired up with point to prove in Belgrade


Portugal's Auriol Dongmo (© Getty Images)

The world’s best shot putters will head to the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 with plenty of motivation.

Four of them experienced significant near-misses on the international stage over the past 12 months. And of those four, two of them are undefeated this year.

Auriol Dongmo is the world leader indoors and outdoors. The Portuguese shot putter has won all her competitions so far this year, topped by her 19.90m national record – the best indoor throw in the world since 2016.

During her breakthrough season last year, she won the European indoor title but went on to finish fourth at the Olympics in Tokyo, missing a medal by just five centimetres. The 31-year-old will be keen to ensure she makes it on to the podium in Belgrade.

Diamond League champion Maggie Ewen is also undefeated this year. Before Dongmo’s 19.90m, the US shot putter held the world lead with her 19.79m winning toss from the US Indoor Championships.

After finishing fourth at the 2019 World Championships and fourth at the 2021 US Trials, missing out on a place at the Olympics, the versatile all-round thrower will do everything in her power to make sure she leaves Belgrade with a medal around her neck.

Danniel Thomas-Dodd, the world silver medallist indoors and outdoors, heads to the Serbian capital with a season’s best of 18.80m – her best indoor throw since her national indoor record of 19.22m, set when taking silver at the 2018 World Indoor Championships.

Like Dongmo and Ewen, the Jamaican thrower has plenty of motivation: she just missed the cut for the Olympic final last year, finishing 13th in qualifying. A Pan-American champion in 2019, Thomas-Dodd is on a mission to become the first Jamaican woman to win a senior global throwing title.

Three-time US champion Chase Ealey, like teammate Ewen, has also been spurred on this year by missing out on making her country’s Olympic team in 2021. She has set an indoor PB of 19.21m this year, backing it up with two more competitions beyond 19 metres.

Three new members of the 19-metre club will be heading to Belgrade.

European U23 champion Jessica Schilder smashed the Dutch record with 19.72m in Apeldoorn last month. In fact, eight of the longest throws of her life have all been set within the past month. She recent set an outdoor national record of 18.89m when finishing second to Dongmo (19.68m) at the European Throwing Cup in Leiria.

Sarah Mitton set a Canadian indoor record of 19.16m last month. Having missed out on reaching the finals at the 2019 World Championships and last year’s Olympics, Mitton will be aiming to reach her first senior global championships final on what will be her World Indoors debut.

Sara Gambetta, finalist at last year’s Olympic Games and the past two editions of the European Indoor Championships, recently joined the 19-metre club when winning the German indoor title with 19.05m.

Swedish record-holder Fanny Roos is another formidable and consistent opponent. After earning European indoor silver last year, she went on to reach the Olympic final. She recently won the Swedish indoor title with 18.95m – the second-best indoor throw of her life.

Other contenders include German Olympian Katharina Maisch and British indoor champion Sophie McKinna.

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics