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As the name suggests, the Discus throw consists of athletes throwing a heavy lenticular disc shaped object, known as the Discus to as far a distance as possible. The goal is to better the distance achieved by competitors. The Discus used in the men's event weighs about 2 kilograms and measures about 8.6 inches (219 mm) in diameter and is 1.75 (44 mm) inches thick at the centre. The women's event has consists of a slightly smaller variant which weighs 1 kg [2 pounds and 3.2 ounces] and measures 180 mm (7.1 inches) in diameter. It is made mostly of wood or material which is more or less similar. It has a smooth metal rim and small circular brass plates on its sides.
Modern Athletes throw the Discus from a slightly dug-in concrete circle measuring 2.5 metres [8 feet, 2.5 inches] in diameter. Earlier the throw used to be made from an inclined pedestal with an exaggerated throwing style typical of ancient illustrations of the Discus Throw. The modern style is a more refined and elegant rotating movement. The thrower initially holds a posture facing away from the direction of the throw. He or she then turns counter-clock wise [Right handers] about one and a half times in the circle before making a release. This act provides the necessary momentum to make the throw. However, it does not just end here. The Discus must land within a â€˜Landing Zone' which is an arc of about 34.92 degree clearly marked by lines, failing which, the throw will not qualify for measurement. The thrower is not allowed to leave the circle until the discus has landed. He / She has to wait for the judge to give an approval to exit from the rear end of the circle. The distance of the throw is measured from the front edge of the throwing circle to the point where the discus lands. Each competitor gets about 3 to 6 attempts, out of which, the best throw is recorded. The one who has achieves the farthest distance â€˜legally' is declared the winner. In case of a tie, the competitor whose 2nd best throw is longer is deemed the winner.
Representing the then East Germany, JÃ¼rgen Schult broke the World record in 1986 previously set by Yuriy Dumchev, who represented the Soviet Union in 1983. Schult's record of 74.08 m (243 ft 0 in) stands strong till date. From the women's side, it's another former East German - Gabriele Reinsch who holds the world record, with a throw measuring 76.80 m (251 ft 11 in) in 1988. The Commonwealth record for men belongs to Frantz Kruger from South Africa (66.39), set in 2002, while Beatrice Faumuina of New Zealand holds the women's honours with a throw measuring 65.92 meters in the 1998 edition of the games.
The previous edition of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006 saw Scott Martin from Australia coming out on top in the men's event with a throw of 63.48 meters and Kiwi Elizna Naude topping the women's chart with a throw of 61.55 m. Both Martin and Naude will be back to defend their Gold medals at the event in Delhi.
How do the hosts India figure in this picture? Not too badly really. Seema Antil finished second in the women's category in Melbourne with a throw of 60.56 meters and the man mountain Vikas Gowda took 6th place in the men's category. India is again expecting 2 medals in this event this time around with Seema in the squad, and Krishna Poonia, whose throw of 63.69 in April stands 3rd best for the season behind Commonwealth contenders Dani Samuels of Australia and defending Gold medalist Elizna Naude from New Zealand. Also, India's third hope rests with Harwant Kaur, who ranks 5th among the Commonwealth contenders in the women's category.
Come October, the Discus throw event will be held at the beautiful Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. So be prepared for superhuman displays of strength combined with sublime technique, and competitors grunting away to shatter records. Also, with a strong Indian contingent for the event, it surely promises to be a mouth watering prospect for spectators.
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