16 September, 2019

2019 Rewind - Throws

  • © Giancarlo Colombo

A triumphant Tom Walsh won the clash of the titans in the men's shot put, there was a Chinese double act in the women's shot put and javelin, and a steely Swede finally got his hands on the Diamond Trophy in the men's discus. A look back at all the action from Doha to Brussels in the throws.

Shot put

After winning the Diamond Trophy by a whisker in 2018, New Zealand's Tom Walsh started the season by admitting that it made him "angry" to see American rival Ryan Crouser throwing well in the build-up to Doha. 

There aren't many people in the world who would want to get on the wrong side of Tom Walsh, but Crouser is obviously one of them, as he promptly won in Doha. The fact that his 22.13m winning throw barely registered among the best efforts of the season speaks volumes of how high the bar has been raised by the likes of Walsh, Crouser and others in recent years.

After that early setback, title defender Walsh continued to play catch-up. Absent for Konrad Bukowiecki's stellar performance in Rome, he came in behind both Crouser and surprise winner Darlan Romani in Stanford, and it wasn't until Paris at the end of August that the reigning champion finally got a win under his belt. 

Not for the first time, Walsh had hit form when it really mattered. He proved as much a few weeks later, claiming victory in the final in Brussels city centre to defend his Diamond Trophy. 

China's Gong Lijiao also managed to defend her title in the women's shot put, though like Walsh, she too had a less than comfortable ride to glory in a highly competitive season. 

Gong suffered an early shock as she lost on home soil in the opening round at Shanghai, with the USA's Chase Ealey staking an early claim to being a title contender in 2019. The Chinese star hit back in style, however, beating Ealey first in Oslo and then in her own back yard at Stanford. 

There was a late twist in the tale as 2015 winner Christina Schwanitz won in Gong's absence in Lausanne, but there was no beating the Chinese in Zurich as she cruised to victory with a meeting record of 20.31m.

Javelin

Gong's was one of two Chinese triumphs in this year's IAAF Diamond League, as Lyu Huihui took the Diamond Trophy for the first time in the women's javelin after a dominant season. 

Consummate victories in Shanghai and Rome established Lyu as the title favourite early on, and she missed out on the following two meetings having already secured her place in the final.

In her absence, reigning champion Tatsiana Khaladovich picked up a much-needed win in London to make sure she qualified for the final, but nobody was going to get close to Lyu in Zurich, as she sealed the trophy with a third-round throw of 66.88m. 

For much of the season, it appeared that the men's javelin would once again be dominated by the discipline's numerous German stars, before a twist in the tale at the end of the season saw the Trophy head instead to Estonia. 

Title holder Andreas Hofmann started strongly in Shanghai and seemed to confirm himself as favourite with another win in Monaco, after compatriot Johannes Vetter won in Oslo. 

Both Germans, however, were perpetually looking over their shoulders at Magnus Kirt and Cheng Chao-Tsun as they rattled at the gates of the German fortress with a string of podium finishes.

Though itwas Cheng who finally broke the Teutonic trend with a win in Birmingham, Estonia's Kirt was the ultimate winner after he pulled off an impressive 89.13m in Zurich to pick up his first win of the season and win the Diamond Trophy in one fell swoop. 

Discus

Daniel Stahl's epic battle with Fedrick Dacres in the men's discus was one of the most thrilling contests of 2018, and two went head to head again in another gruelling, season-long duel this year.

While Dacres nabbed the Diamond Trophy last season, 2019 was to be Stahl's year, as the Swede rampaged from victory to victory on his way to a first Diamond League title. 

He set a new Diamond League record of 70.56 in the season opener in Doha, and picked up another meeting record in London at the other end of the season. As Stahl notched up three victories on the Road To The Final, Dacres managed to beat him only once, in Rabat, and ultimately surrendered his Diamond Trophy to the Swede in Brussels earlier this month.

There was another European-Caribbean duel in the women's discus, as Croatian perennial champion Sandra Perkovic looked to regain the crown she had lost to Cuba's Yaime Perez last season. 

Though a six-time Diamond Trophy winner, a convalescent Perkovic was no match for the Cuban axis of Perez and compatriot Denia Caballero this season, as the two took two wins each from meetings in Stockholm, Rabat, Birmingham and Paris. 

Perez also ultimately outshone Perkovic when it mattered most, going over two metres further than the Croatian in the Brussels final to defend her title.