North Shore Auckland New Zealand was privileged to have two of the world's top exponents with the 7.26kg ball, namely Americans Ryan Crouser (2016 Rio Olympic champion) and Ryan Whiting (2012 & 2014 World Indoor champion). Crouser wowed the crowd with a sublime series, including four throws over 22 metres, his best being 22.15m, twice. Whiting had one of those days to forget, with 5 fouls and only 19.93m, for 5th place.
In between the two visitors were Kiwis Tom Walsh, setting three new NZL Resident records up to 21.80m, and Jacko Gill (who you know I have followed since he was 14, he's now 22) - he got within 9cm of his PB at 20.92m. From across the Tasman Sea came Damian Birkinhead AUS, who threw 20.54m.
In no way over-awed by these colossal talents was young Ryan Ballantyne, who added 19 cm to his longest throw with this bigger shot, 16.37.
Crouser and Walsh were overheard saying that they feel as though the present World Record (23.12m by Randy Barnes USA, set way back in 1990) will be under assault this year and might possibly be eclipsed, or in the next year or so... young Ballantyne was in very good company, and who knows, he may figure in the record chase later in his career?
Picture courtesy of John Kirk-Anderson/ Fairfax NZ