Did we all just witness the greatest ever shot-put competition of all time? Yes. Yes, we did.
The event began with the longest ever throw at a world championship. Ryan Crouser set the tone with a 22.36, bettering the previous championship record. By the end, that mark was just the equal-seventh best of the night in what proved to be the greatest – and closest – shot put competition ever.
Tomas Walsh, the reigning champion, stepped into the circle. A little smirk crept across his face as he looked out of the sector and he set off for his throw. The orb sailed well over the 22m mark and as 22.90 flashed up onto the screen he turned to the crowd, arms extended “Are you not entertained?!”, but we certainly were. A 23cm pb for the kiwi!
The Brazilian Romani knocked out a 22.53 on his second throw to move up to the silver position and the top three looked pretty sorted.That all changed when Crouser, the Rio Olympic Champion, hit his fifth round throw out to 22.71, a 7cm personal best.
But nothing, and seriously, I mean nothing, prepared the stadium for what was going to happen in the last round.
Things looked locked up. This was already a ridiculous competition, with third place currently 30cm over the previous meet record. That was until Joe Kovacs stepped up to the plate. His fourth round put of 21.95 had him in fourth place, but as the shot arced its way through the air, we all moved to the edge of our seats in anticipation of the distance.
What the absolute hell was going on?! Kovacs, the 2015 world champ, just added 34cm to his pb, pipping Walsh by a mere centimetre. Romani, now relegated to fourth, could only muster a foul. Tough reality check to what was going on. Not getting. Medal with 22.53.
But it didn’t stop there. Crouser stepped into the circle and exploded with 22.90!!!!!
Absolute scenes in the circle. And because his previous best was 22.71, he passed Walsh on a countback.
With all the hype, again, like Romani, Walsh could stay in the circle and results in a foul. It seemed as though, after his 22.90, he focused his eyes more on the World Record (23.12) and not on the gold. Which is completely understandable.
From the IAAF: Walsh ended the competition as the sixth-best thrower in history, but just the third best on the night. The final produced three of the seven best throws in history. It was also the first comp in which four me threw beyond 22 metres and the first major championships final with eight men going over 21m
The Shot-Put all-time list as it sits now after Doha:
- Randy Barnes – 23.12
- Ulf Timmerman – 23.06
- Alessandro Andrei – 22.91
- Joe Kovacs – 22.91
- Ryan Crouser – 22.90
- Tom Walsh – 22.90
I suppose we should touch on some track too.
Hassan did the most ridiculous double ever. Winning both the 10,000m and 1500m titles at separate meets would be an amazing feat, but at that same champs, both in pbs, is crazy. She also finished her press conference with “If they want to test me, they can test me every single day. Every single day. I believe in clean sport. I always clean”. We’ll just leave that there.
For a championship that has plenty of people whinging about crowds and heat, the amount of records and personal bests, especially in the distance, has been ridiculous. I guess Doha in October really knows how to turn it on.