WRITTEN FOR THE IAAF WEBSITE
IAAF World Indoor Tour winner, Tomas Stanek is enjoying a rich vein of form this winter with victory in four out of five competitions in addition to an eye-catching 22.17m Czech record in Dusseldorf earlier this month.
The 26-year-old European indoor silver medalist – who placed fourth at the world outdoor equivalent in London last summer – looks set to capture his first major championship gold if he can capitalise on his recent shape.
In a position to potentially dash those hopes, however will be Poland’s Konrad Bukowiecki, who will look to replicate his win over Stanek in Torun a fortnight ago.
That performance was highlighted by a fine 22.00m national and Area junior record for the 20-year-old, and the European indoor champion and 2014 world junior victor will now be equally as keen to claim his first global senior title.
His team-mate, Michal Haratyk meanwhile, comes into the competition fresh off a 21.47m lifetime best to win the Polish title over Bukowiecki two weeks ago, and so the European outdoor silver medalist is another athlete with gold medal aspirations.
Although he has not competed indoors this season, world indoor and outdoor champion, Tom Walsh of New Zealand has thrown 21.87m this winter and the 25-year-old Olympic bronze medalist will be in strong contention to defend his title.
Maksim Afonin – an authorised neutral athlete – has thrown a 21.39m lifetime best this month, whilst a top name hoping to make a timely step up in fitness will be Germany’s four-time European champion, David Storl.
The 2011 and 2013 world outdoor champion only holds a 21.19m season’s best to his name, but the 2012 Olympic silver medalist has experienced raising his game to place runner-up in the global indoor event before – back in 2012 and 2014 – so he must not be discounted.
Others with medals firmly in their sights include Croatia’s Stipe Zunic, the world outdoor bronze medalist who registered a 21.13m national record in Dusseldorf, and the 2012 and 2014 world indoor champion, Ryan Whiting of the USA – who despite his 20.65m winter best, should not be underestimated.