: Bernard Linley : 31.05.2019
Akeem Stewart set a national shot put record of 20.43m in March 2019, the first TT athlete over 20 metres in this event. Back in 1906 LC Pouchet had set the record at 10.05m (33 feet), less then half the distance reached by Stewart.
Since then many athletes have held the record in the only throwing event on the TT athletics programme before the discus and javelin were introduced in the 1940s.
Bert Harragin did 11.40 (37-5) in 1908 and John Ashmead reached 13.03 (42-9) in 1945. In the fifties Conrad Derrick dominated the event locally and brought the record to 13.35 (43-9 ¾) in 1959.
Roy Hollingsworth, who had studied in England and represented Great Britain in the discus throw at the 1964 Olympics, returned home the following year and in 1967 set the shot record at 15.71m. This mark lasted until Hubert Maingot improved it several times over a decade to 17.68 in 1985.
In 1987 James Dedier brought the record to 17.86, which lasted until 2000 when Dave Stoute attained 18.91m. Then Akeem Stewart arrived on record scene with 19.34 in 2013, 19.96 in 2016 and 20.43 in 2019.
In a world perspective, it should be pointed out that over 320 athletes have thrown further than 20.43m. Of these 153 over 21 metres, 27 over 22 metres and just 2 (American Randy Barnes 23.12 in 1990 and East German Ulf Timmermann 23.06 in 1988) over 23 metres.
One last curiosity, no less than six of the top ten shot putters on the current world all time list achieved their best in 1990 or before.