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Discus Throw Event: History, Types, Rules, & Records | All You Need To Know

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The discus throw, also called disc throw, is a track and field sporting event in which the competing athlete throws a heavy disc, which is called a discus. The main objective of the sport is to throw the discus as far away as possible. Discus throw is an ancient sport, as a statue of the fifth century BC named Discobolus made by Myron demonstrates it. Though it is not a part of the current pentathlon, it was one of the ancient Greek pentathlons and is a part of the modern decathlon.

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History of the Sport

Discus Throw | KreedOn
Statue of Discobolus, Image Source- Britannica

The origin of the sport of discus throw can be dated back to the event of the Olympics Games of Ancient Greece. The sport was resurrected in Magdeburg (Germany). Throughout the nineteenth century, the discus throw was a part of various sporting events. It even made its way into the Summer Olympic Games since its first inception in 1896. In today’s times, the sport of discus throw holds a special place in the event of track and field sporting events and retains an iconic place in the Olympic Games.

Frantisek Janda-Suk, hailing from Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic) is often credited with the discovery of the technique of rotating the body while throwing the discus. He invented the technique after studying the statue of Discobolus. Following a year of developing the technique, he earned a silver medal in discus throw in the 1900 Olympic Games. Women’s discus throw was added to the Olympic programme in the 1928 games.

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Regulations of the game

The event entails the throwing of a disc, depending on the weight of the competitor. Men and women throw different discs of varying sizes, weights, etc. The weight of the discus is either governed by the World Athletics for international and USA Track & Field for the United States.

US Weights
Age Men Women
High School 1.6 kg 1 kg
Collegiate 2 kg 1 kg
Professional 2 kg 1 kg
Master’s (35-59) 1.5 kg 1 kg
Master’s (60-74) 1 kg 1 kg
Master’s (75+) 1 kg 0.75 kg

International Weights
Age Men Women
≤17 1.5 kg 1 kg
18-19 1.75 kg 1 kg
20-49 2 kg 1 kg
50-59 1.5 kg 1 kg
60-74 1 kg 1 kg
75+ 1 kg 0.75 kg

The typical discus used for the event is usually made of plastic, wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or metal with a metal rim and a core that is added to attain weight. The rim must be smooth, with no roughness or finger holds, otherwise it may prove to be injurious to the thrower. It is conjectured that a discus with greater weight in the rim produces more momentum, thereby granting more chances for it to go farther.

How to throw Discus

Discus throw: Rules, regulations, records and all you need to know | KreedOn
Image Source- Olympics

To make a throw, the thrower starts in a circle of 2.5 m in diameter, which is recessed in a concrete pad by 20 millimeters. The thrower usually takes an initial stance facing away from the direction of the throw. Following that, they then spin anticlockwise (for right-handers) 1+12 times while staying within the circle to build momentum before releasing the discus. The discus after being thrown must land within a 34.92º circular sector that is centered on the throwing circle. It is worth mentioning that the rules of discus competition are more or less similar to those 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.

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Variants of the game

Two variations of the game have been contested across the world. The first is a two-handed competition that took place in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in which the athletes used both of their left and right arm putting techniques and the other one was the stone throw, which was held at the 1906 Intercalated Games, held at Athens, Greece.

Discus Throw Rules

The Discus

Discus Throw Event | History, Types, Objectives, Rules & Records | KreedOn
Image Source-
  • It should be either made of wood or other such material.
  • Should weigh around 2kg and have a diameter of 22cm (for men). For women, it should weigh 1 kg and have a diameter of 18cm. 6mm should be the cross-section of the edge.
  • The sides should taper in a straight line from the point where the curve of the rim starts to a circle which has a radius of 25 mm to 28.5 mm, from mid-point.

The Cage

Discus Throw Event | History, Types, Objectives, Rules & Records
Image Source- Sportsfield Specialties
  • The cage shape should resemble U.
  • It should be prepared in a manner that it can arrest the flight of a disc weighing 2kg flying at a speed of around 25 m/s.
  • The width of the mouth of the cage should be 6 meters and about 7 meters from the front.
  • The height of the netting panels should be at a minimum of 4 meters.

The Throw

Image Source- The Washington Post
  • The athlete can throw the discus after he/she stands in a circle with 2.5 meters diameter.
  • The athletes while attempting the throw cannot touch the rim.
  • The athlete is not allowed to touch the ground outside of the permitted circle.
  • In the Olympics, each of the athletes is given 8 chances and the best amongst them are recorded.
  • If the disc ends up outside the landing area, the throw would not be held valid.


Image Source- Research Gate

The main objective of the thrower is to concentrate on the rhythm. Focusing on the rhythm can bring about the consistency required to execute a perfect throw. Moreover, solid technique and balance are essential factors in determining how long the throw goes.

Initially, the thrower sets up their position in the center of the circle with the weight distributed equally over both of his/her feet. They may also crouch to get that extra edge and momentum. Precise balance is required as linear movement combined with a one-and-a-half rotation. The next stage is moving the weight over the appropriate foot and running the circle.

The end objective is landing on that power position which helps propel the discus. The foot should be in the center and the heel should not touch the ground at any point. 

Discus Throw: World Rankings (2022-2023)


Rank Player Name
1 Kristjan ČEH
2 Mykolas ALEKNA
3 Daniel STÅHL
4 Andrius GUDŽIUS
6 Matthew DENNY
9 Lawrence OKOYE
10 Alin Alexandru FIRFIRICA


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Rank Player Name
1 Valarie ALLMAN
3 Kristin PUDENZ
4 Claudine VITA
6 Liliana CÁ
7 Yaimé PÉREZ
8 Laulauga TAUSAGA
9 Shanice CRAFT
10 Marija TOLJ

Discus Throw Records

Discus Throw Olympic Records

  • Men’s Discus Throw Olympic Record

229 Feet, 3 Inches – 69.89 Meters

  • Women’s Discus Throw Olympic Record

237 Feet, 2.5 Inches – 72.3 Meters

Discus Throw World Records

  • Men’s Discus Throw World Record

243.0 Feet – 74.08 Meters

  • Women’s Discus Throw World Record

251 Feet, 11 Inches – 76.8 Meters

Indian Discus Throwers

Kamalpreet Kaur, Image Source- NDTV

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