This is a game which is a routine part of most field events and tack meet at all levels and is an iconic sport in the Olympics. Ever since the 1896 Olympics this game has been a part of the summer Olympics. However, the women's competitions were added to the event in 1928 games.
Description of Discus Throw
Discus, the object to be thrown, is actually a heavy biconvex disc having a weight of 2 kilograms and diameters of 219-221 mm for men's events, and a weight of 1 kg and diameters of 180-182 mm for the women's event.
Under the IAAF Rule which says, young boys (16-17 years) throw the 1.5 kg discus, the Junior Men (18-19 years) throw the unique 1.75 kg discus, and the girls/women of those ages throw the 1 kg discus.
In case of competitions of international stature, men up to 49 years of age throw 2 kg discus, those between 50 and 59 throw 1.5 kg discus and men whose age is 60 or more throw 1 kg discus. In case of women, right through age of 74 they throw 1 kg discus. For all women above 75 years, they throw 750 gram discus.
The side of discus is typically made of wood, plastic, carbon fibre, fibre glass or metal with a metal rim and a metal core to gain weight. The rim of discus has to be smooth with no finger holds or roughness. Discus having more weight in the rim produces more angular momentum for any particular spin rate, and thus more stability, though making it difficult to throw. But a higher rim weight, when thrown in correct manner can lead to farther throw.
In order to make the throw, a participant or a thrower starts in a circle of 2.5 metres a diameter, which is recessed in a solid pad by 20 mm. The thrower, quite typically, takes opening stance by facing away from direction of throw. By spinning counter clockwise (in case of right hander) around one and a half time through the circle to gather momentum, it is time to release the throw. The discus must land within a sector of 34.92-degree. The rules here are more or less identical like in case of shot put except that the circle is larger, a stop board is not used and there are no form rules concerning how the discus is to be thrown.
The distance, from where the discus has landed to the front edge of circle, is measured and is rounded up to the nearest centimetre. From the total number of allocated throws the best throw is calculated where, typically, 3 to 6 is recorded and the one who legally throws the ball to the farthest distance is adjudged winner.
The basic motion employed here is the sidearm movement. It is spun off the middle finger or the index finger of the throwing hand. For the right hand thrower, during flight, the disc spins in clockwise direction, and inverse for left hander. While the momentum of the throw is crucial for attaining the maximum distance, the trajectory is also very important in order to throw the discus at farthest. Mainly, throws into a modest headwind gain the maximum distance. Also, it can be seen that a faster-spinning discus imparts greater gyroscopic stability. The technique of discus throwing is quite difficult to master and needs lots of experience to get right, thus most top throwers are 30 years old or more
Phases of the Discus Throw
Discus throw has three key movements: wind up, move in rhythm, balance, right leg engine, orbit, and delivery. The most important part of the throw happens to be wind up as it sets the tone for all the throws. Here are some of the technical aspects: flat right foot, on the ball of the left foot, keeping weight evenly distributed between two feet, and not over doing it (being overly active can result in the waste of energy). Even though wind up actually sets up the tone for entire throw, but the rhythm is very crucial. A good discus thrower actually needs to maintain proper balance within circles. And also a thrower needs to keep the shoulder at the same level during the throw till the end, where the thrower must extend their shoulders upward to get good lift under the discus. If extension is executed properly the discus will be at the right angle to ride on the air current and thus be taken a farther distance.