Olympic champion Ryan Crouser continued his unbeaten 2020 campaign at the Hanzekovic Memorial on Monday (14), winning the shot put at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting with a Croatian all-comers’ record of 22.74m.
As is tradition at this meeting, the men’s shot put is staged at Zagreb’s City Fountains on the eve of the main competition and is held in honour of Ivan Ivancic, Yugoslavia’s 1983 world shot put finalist.
Crouser, who won in Zagreb in 2016 with a meeting record of 22.28m and triumphed again in 2018, opened conservatively today with 21.03m, but it was still enough to take an early lead. David Storl took a short-lived lead in round two with 21.20m, then world champion Joe Kovacs took a turn in top spot with 21.30m, but Crouser jumped back into pole position with 22.10m to close out round two.
The US thrower then unleashed an almighty 22.74m in round three to extend his lead, adding 46 centimetres to his own meeting record.
After a foul in the fourth round, Crouser came close to his leading mark with 22.59m in round five. He rounded out his series with 22.31m, another throw beyond his previous meeting record.
Crouser’s winning mark today is the best throw achieved in Europe since 1988. It’s also his 31st throw this year beyond 22 metres; a barrier no other man has bettered in 2020.
“I was really happy with the night, that’s one of my top-10 throws,” said Crouser, who has thrown farther on just two previous occasions. “I was a little disappointed that I didn’t throw a little bit further, I was really hoping for the 23. I think there is still a 23-metre throw there; I just have to let it happen.”
Kovacs and Storl didn’t improve in the second half of the competition and so remained in second and third respectively. USA’s Payton Otterdahl threw 21.06m in the penultimate round to move into fourth, while Nick Ponzio ended with 21.03m to place fifth.
SOURCE: World Athletics