Ryan Whiting unleashes a putt of 22.28m to win the shot at the 2013 Doha Diamond League (© Errol Anderson)
Ryan Whiting leads the 2013 lists as the only man over 22 metres this year, having set a personal best of 22.28m when winning at the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting of the year in Doha back in May.
His competitive record since then also suggests that the 26-year-old US thrower is the slight favourite, despite the presence of Poland’s two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski and Germany’s 2011 World champion David Storl.
Whiting, the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships gold medallist but who had a relatively poor showing at the London 2012 Olympic Games when he could only finish ninth, leads the 2013 Diamond Race following his victories in New York and Lausanne and he also went over 22 metres when winning the US title with 22.11m.
However, despite going undefeated during the indoor season, Whiting is capable of having his occasional off day, as he showed in Birmingham at the end of June.
In his only competition this year below 21 metres, indoors or outdoors, he was beaten by his compatriot Reese Hoffa.
Hoffa, who finished behind Whiting in second place at the US Championships, also inflicted Whiting’s only other defeat of 2013 when he beat him at the Drake Relays at the pair’s outdoor opener in Des Moines in April.
The 2007 World champion isn’t in quite in the same form as six years ago but Hoffa still remains a threat to Whiting’s ambitions of being the fourth different US athlete to win the event in five editions of the championships.
Hoffa himself, at the age of 35, would also become the oldest man to win a World Championships Shot Put medal if he can get on the podium.
His 21.71m effort at the Drake Relays places him second on this year’s world list although, apart from his two wins over Whiting, he has only won one other of his eight outdoor competitions.
Majewski, following shoulder surgery over the winter, has had a low profile but a rather busy summer.
He has competed 10 times but all four of his victories have come on Polish soil and his five Diamond League results have been very modest.
Nevertheless, no one doubts Majewski’s ability to rise to the occasion following his Olympic victories in Beijing and London, as well as his 2010 European title. However, his only medal in four previous World Championships appearances was a silver in 2009.
Storl, the 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist, has also had his problems this year although he won at the IAAF Diamond League in Rome and showed that he is rounding into good form with a season’s best of 21.04m to win at the German championships in Ulm last month.
Another man who could make his presence felt is the USA’s Zack Lloyd, who achieved a personal best of 21.07m to finish third at the US Championships and qualify for his first major international competition.
Czech Republic’s Ladislav Prasil has made a big improvement this year by throwing 21.47m in South Africa at the start of the outdoor season and showed that it was no fluke by going over 21 metres on two other occasions.
Argentina’s German Lauro, sixth in London last summer, is another man who has developed well this year and he produced a South American record of 21.26m when finishing second behind Whiting in Doha.
Bulgaria’s former World junior champion Georgi Ivanov, Canada’s Dylan Armstrong and Russia’s best domestic hope Maksim Sidorov will also go to Moscow with medal ambitions.
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Phil Minshull for the IAAF