Joe Kovacs at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene (© Getty Images)
The planet’s two best men’s shot putters on recent form – Joe Kovacs and David Storl – are ready for a new duel at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, the meeting organisers of the Prefontaine Classic announced on Wednesday (30).
Some might call it a rematch, but others see it as a continuation of the Pre Classic tradition for major shot put clashes.
Kovacs’ biggest moment to date came in topping a stellar field at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.
The victory in the Chinese capital was only one of several crowning moments for Kovacs, who earlier in the summer heaved the shot to a world-leading mark of 22.56m, the best distance in the world for 12 years, before then going on to win the season-long Diamond Race.
Kovacs will face the man who preceded him as world champion in 2011 and 2013, Germany’s David Storl, who also finished second to Kovacs at last year’s Pre Classic and in Beijing.
However, the Eugene field also has incredible depth.
New Zealand’s Tom Walsh is the youngest in the field at 24. He won the gold medal at the recent IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 with an Oceanian record of 21.78m.
A decade older, Tomasz Majewski has two Olympic gold medals, joining legendary Parry O’Brien in an exclusive club. The Polish record-holder at 21.95m, Majewski has competed at the past six Pre Classics.
Reese Hoffa has already competed 11 times at the event with four victories. The 38-year-old won gold at the 2007 IAAF World Championships and is the only two-time Diamond Race winner in this event, ending the 2012 and 2014 seasons victorious.
In Beijing last year, O’Dayne Richards earned Jamaica's first World Championships shot put medal when he equalled his national record of 21.69m, which was set in winning the Pan American Games gold medal last July.
Two 25-year-olds are prepared for their first Pre Classic. Jordan Clarke, who represented USA in Beijing, will be joined by Canada’s three-time national champion Tim Nedow, who earned a silver medal at last summer’s Pan American Games behind Richards before winning the overall shot put title on the IAAF World Indoor Tour this winter.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL