TOKYO – Johnsonburg’s Michael Shuey will be a part of Group A in the Olympic Men’s Javelin qualifying competition Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Shuey’s group throws at 8:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time or at 9:05 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, in Japan.
Group B will throw at 9:35 p.m. EDT Aug. 3 or 10:35 a.m. Aug. 4 in Japan.
Each group consists of 16 throwers with each thrower getting three attempts. To advance to the finals, which are being held at 7 a.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 7 (8 p.m. Japan time the same day) a thrower must throw 83.50 meters or finish with one of the best 12 throws.
Shuey enters the competition with the ninth-best throw this season having tossed 85.67 a couple of weeks ago at an invitational at East Stroudsburg. That throw is also Shuey’s personal best, although it ranks much lower among the competitors’ personal-best throws at 24th.
Shuey is trying to become the first United States javelin thrower to qualify for the Olympic finals since Breaux Greer finished 12th in 2004 in Athens. Greer was also 12th in Sydney in 2000.
The last American to finish in the Top 10 in the event was Tom Puksyts, who was eight in 1996 at the Atlanta Games. Michael Barnett finished seven at Barcelona in 1992 with Puksyts taking 10th while TGom Petranoff was 10th and Duncan Atwood 11th in 1984 in Los Angeles.
William Schmidt is the last US thrower to medal taking the bronze in 1972 in Munich. Sam Colson holds the highest American finish since then taking fifth in 1976 in Montreal. Fred Luke was also eight in 1972.
The odds-on-favorite to win the event is Germany’s Johannes Vetter, who has the top throw in the field this year at 96.29 meters and the top personal-best throw as well at 97.76 meters. Vetter is also in Group A in the qualifying round.
Three additional throwers have cracked over 90 meters in their career, although two of them have failed to break 80 meters this year.
Trinidad & Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott has a personal best of 90.16 and has the third-best throw this year at 89.12 behind only Vetter and Poland’s Marcin Krukowski, whose 89.55 meters this year is his personal best.
Walcott won the Bronze medal five years ago in Rio (85.38 meters) and the was Gold Medal winner (84.58 meters) in 2012 in London.
Walcott and Krukowski are both throwing in Group B.
Kenya’s Julius Yego (92.72 meters) and Chinese Taipei’s (Taiwan) Chao-Tsun Cheng (91.36 meters) have both broken 90 meters in their careers but neither has a throw nearly that far this year with Yego’s best throw being 75.58 meters and Chengy’s being 73.22 meters seeding them as the 31st and 32nd throwers in the 32-thrower field based on this year’s throws.
Yego was the Silver medalist in 2016 at Rio (88.24 meters).
Both Yego and Cheng are throwing in Group B.
Germany’s Thomas Rohler won the gold in Rio with a toss of 90.30 meters.
The other five throwers with better tosses this year than Shuey are India’s Neeraj Chopra (88.07, personal best), Latvia’s Gatis Cakss (87.57, personal best), Moldova’s Andrian Mardare (86.66, personal best), Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem (86.38, personal best), and South Africa’s Rocco van Rooyen (85.97, personal best).
Chopra, Cakss, and van Rooyen are all throwing in Group A with Mardare and Nadeem throwing in Group B.
There are four additional throwers who have tossed over 85 meters this year including Belarus’ Aliaksei (85.1 meters; personal best is 86.05 meters) and Pavel Mialeshka (85.06, personal best), Chinese Taipei’s Shih-Feng Huang (85.03; personal best is 86.64), and Finland’s Toni Kuusela (85.03, personal best).
Mialeshka, Huang, and Kuusela are all throwing in Group A with Katkavets throwing in Group B.
The field, though, is loaded with throwers capable of throwing over 86 meters.
Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman has thrown a career-best 89.21 meters, although his best this year is just 83.88 meters. He is in Group A.
The Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch also has a career-best throw of 89.73 meters, although he enters having thrown only 82.32 meters this season. He is also in Group A.
Lithuania’s Edis Matusevicius (89.17 meters) and Germany’s Bernhard Seifert (89.06) have also eclipsed 89 meters in their careers, although Matusevicius comes in with a year-best throw of 83.53 meters and Seifert with a year-best toss of only 81.28 meters. Matisevicius is in Group A and Seifert is in Group B.
Germany’s Julian Weber (88.29 meters career; 84.95 meters this year) and Finland’s Oliver Helanders (88.02 meters career; 80.82 meters this year) have both gone over 88 meters in their careers with both throwing in Group B, while Grenada’s Anderson Peters (87.31 meters career, 83.46 meters this year) is also in Group B.
Three additional throwers have gone over 86 meters in their career led by Sweden’s Kim Amb (86.49 meters). He is joined by Romania’s Mihaita Alexandru Novac (86.37 meters) and India’s Shivpal Singh (86.23 meters) as 86-plus meter career throwers. Amb’s best throw this year is only 79.72 meters with Novac checking in at 81.31 meters and Singh at 81.63 meters. Amb and Novac are in Group A with Singh in Group B.
The only other American in the field is Curtis Thompson, who is in Group B. Thompson’s best throw is 82.88 meters and his best this season is 82.78 meters. Thompson won the US Trials in Oregon.
NOTES – Fans should be able to watch all of Shuey’s throws live by downloading the NBC Sports app. The app has been showing individual events live via streaming … A watch party is tentatively planned for the Johnsonburg Fire Hall as well. More information on that will be available after 4 p.m. Tuesday. Check out Joyce Melatto’s Facebook page for more details.