A look back at the women’s shot put at the IAAF World Championships
The favourite in the first World Championship final in Helsinki was Olympic champion and world record-holder Ilona Slupianek, who led after the first round with 20.56m, but injury prevented her throwing further.
Her East German colleague Helma Knorscheidt went ahead in the second round with 20.70m and that remained the lead until the final round and looked the likely winner in the wet conditions as no one else improved. The final throw of the competition was taken by the 34 year-old Czechoslovakian Helena Fibingerova, who was lying fourth and made light of the conditions to take gold with 21.04m. She dedicated victory to her father, who had died the previous month.
Two Britons made the final – Venissa Head 10th and Judy Oakes 12th – but none have since.
In Rome in 1987, gold went to the still-standing world record-holder Natalya Lisovskaya, but it was close. She set the 22.63m mark in June that year, but found 21.24m in the fifth round sufficient to edge Kathrin Neimke’s 21.21m.
Oakes was the leading non-qualifier, but it took 19 metres to make the final.
Huang Zhihong was 11th in 1987, but she dominated the final in Tokyo in 1991 to win Asia’s first world outdoor title at any event. The Chinese athlete had the four best throws of the competition, highlighted by a 20.83m as Lisovskaya ﬁ nished second.
A put of 18.09m was enough to make the final and Oakes was again close, heading the group-A non-qualifiers with 17.81m.
Zhihong repeated the feat of the best four throws in Stuttgart in 1993 and was the only thrower to beat 20 metres as she recorded 20.57m. Olympic champion Svetlana Krivelyova won her second successive world silver.
Germany’s Astrid Kumbernuss was sixth but was a class apart in Gothenburg in 2005 with her five legal throws superior to any of the opposition’s. Her 21.22m gave her a one-metre victory over the Chinese defending champion. Oakes again headed the non qualifiers.
In Athens in 1997, Kumbernuss was keen to avenge her earlier World Indoor Championships loss to Vita Pavlysh, which ended a 53-competition win-streak, and she narrowly took the gold medal with 20.71m. The Russian lost by just five centimeters in a gripping contest as each had four throws in the 20.36m to 20.71m range. Oakes, in her final World Championships, again fell just short of making the final, this time by just five centimetres with a 17.84m throw.
Kumbernuss had a child in 1998 and was struggling early in 1999, but by the time of Seville she was back to sufficiently good enough form to have the competition’s three best throws. The standard was poor as a 19.85m proved to be the lowest winning throw in history. Krivelyova won her third medal, taking third with 19.43m.
Belarus’s Yanina Korolchik was a surprise Olympic champion in 2000, but proved it wasn’t a fluke with an easy win in Edmonton in 2001 as her 20.61m meant Nadine Kleinert-Schmitt won her second successive silver medal. Kumbernuss was sixth.
In Paris in 2003, Krivelyova was contesting her sixth world final and finally won gold with 20.63m. Nadezhda Ostapchuk took second and was also over 20 metres. Valerie Adams, then an under-20, finished a promising fifth.
Ostapchuk won the gold easily in Helsinki in 2005 with 20.51m, but lost the title almost a decade later when her drugs sample was retested.
Krivelyova, who was originally fourth, was disqualified when her 2004 Olympic drugs sample was retested and she was retrospectively disqualified for two years. Officially the winner is now Olga Ryabinkina, who bettered the former Ms Adams, who was then competing as Miss Vili, by just two centimetres with 19.64m.
The New Zealander Vili was in better form in Osaka in 2007 and her Commonwealth record 20.54m in the final round took her into a big lead, though Ostapchuk responded with a near-miss 20.48m with the competition’s last throw.
Vili won again in Berlin in 2009 as Kleinert won a record-equalling fourth medal with a PB 20.20m. That is now officially ﬁve after Ostapchuk’s 2005 doping offence, even though she was seemingly fifth on the day.
Vili, back to Adams again, was at her peak in Daegu in 2011 as her 21.24m was a Commonwealth record and equalled Livovskaya’s championship record from 1987. Ostapchuk finished a distant second, while Kleinert finished eighth in a record eighth final.
Adams was headed by Ostapchuk in the 2012 Olympics but was promoted to champion when Ostapchuk failed a drugs test and then retained her world title with 20.88m to win her fourth gold and fifth medal. However, Germany’s Christina Schwanitz kept the winning margin respectable with a 20.41m PB, a mark which Adams bettered or equalled with four of her throws.
Year | Winner | Throw | GB position and mark
1983 Helena Fibingerova (TCH) 21.05 10 Venissa Head 18.05 (18.41q)
1987 Natalya Lisovskaya (URS) 21.24 NQ Judy Oakes 18.43
1991 Huang Zhihong (CHN) 20.83 NQ Judy Oakes 17.81
1993 Huang Zhihong (CHN) 20.57 NQ Myrtle Augee 16.06
1995 Astrid Kumbernuss (GER) 21.22 NQ Judy Oakes 17.87
1997 Astrid Kumbernuss (GER) 20.71 NQ Judy Oakes 17.84
1999 Astrid Kumbernuss (GER) 19.85 No competitor
2001 Yanina Korolchik (BLR) 20.61 No competitor
2003 Svetlana Krivelyova (RUS) 20.63 No competitor
2005 Nadezhda Ostapchuk (BLR) 20.51 No competitor
2007 Valerie Vili (NZL) 20.54 No competitor
2009 Valerie Vili (NZL) 20.44 No competitor
2011 Valerie Adams (NZL) 21.24 No competitor
2013 Valerie Adams (NZL) 20.88 No competitor
Points table (8 for 1st etc)
1. GER 144
2. CHN 96
3. RUS 59
4. BLR 44
5. NZL 43
6. URS 36
7. UKR 21
8. USA 21
9. CUB 13
10. TCH 9
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