World-Class Field Set for 2015 Downtown Shot Put
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the fifth-consecutive year, a collection of the world’s top shot putters will hit the streets of Lawrence to take part in the now-iconic Downtown Shot Put competition on Friday, April 17. The event, which will be held in conjunction with the 88th Kansas Relays, is again set to be held at Eighth & New Hampshire Streets in downtown Lawrence and will begin at 6 p.m.
“The athletes enjoy coming to Lawrence because it is such an unusual setting for the competition and Lawrence always gives them a warm welcome,” said Bob Sanner, who organizes the event with the Lawrence Sports Commission and the City of Lawrence. “Fans get a chance to see Olympic athletes in action right downtown and enjoy something of a street party afterwards.”
The Downtown Shot Put has become well-known for bringing together one of the strongest fields in the world and this year will be no different as five of the world’s top 10-ranked shot putters from last year are expected to attend, including each of the last three American-title winners.
Defending Downtown champion, Christian Cantwell, will return to Lawrence looking for his sixth Kansas Relays title. The Missouri graduate is a seven-time USA Champion and claimed a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has also been on top of the world stage, taking gold at the 2009 World Championships and has ranked among the world’s top-five throwers for an amazing 10 years.
The 2012 Downtown champion, Reese Hoffa, will make his fifth-straight journey to Lawrence. A native of Evans, Georgia, Hoffa is a three-time U.S. Champion and has finished among the top-five at the U.S. Outdoor Championships in an incredible nine-straight years. He has gained nation-wide fame through his quirky personality and touching family story, as well as becoming one of the dominant figures of the sport. He claimed the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and has ranked among the top-three throwers in the world in each of the last nine years.
Olympian Ryan Whiting will try to regain the Downtown title after winning the event in 2013. A four-time U.S. Champion, Whiting was the gold medalist at the 2012 and 2014 World Indoor Championships. He is also one of the top throwers in NCAA history. As an Arizona State Sun Devil, he won six national titles and boasts two of the top-eight marks in collegiate history.
The world’s No. 6-ranked shot putter in 2014 and last year’s Downtown runner-up, Kurt Roberts, is also in the field. Roberts claimed a second-place finish at the 2014 U.S. Outdoor Championships.
Rounding out the 10-man field will be Jordan Clarke, who posted the world’s ninth-best mark in 2014; last year’s Canadian champion, Tim Nedow; the world’s No. 2-ranked indoor thrower two years ago, Cory Martin; Canada’s Justin Rhode, who will chalk up his fourth Downtown Shot Put appearance; Olympian Nedzad Mulabegovic, a three-time Downtown Shot Put invitee; and Zack Lloyd, who will compete in Lawrence for the second time.
The shot put will take place on the 100 East block of Eighth Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire Streets. Officials will again construct a throwing area and platform, as well as a spectator viewing area. Material to construct the shot put sector will be donated by Hamm Quarry, Inc. The donated material will be reused by the City of Lawrence following the event to maintain running and biking trails along the Kansas River levee. Spectators on hand will have the opportunity to win several prizes through giveaways, as well as enjoy inflatable games for the young fans.
The event is free to the public and will be held in concurrence with the 88th Kansas Relays, which is set for April 15-18 at Rock Chalk Park. For more information on the 2015 Kansas Relays, log on to KansasRelays.com.
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