Poland's Pawel Fajdek competes in the hammer final at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)
Pawel Fajdek’s status as an all-time great of the sport was well and truly cemented on Saturday (16) at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 as the Pole won his fifth successive world hammer title.
Only one athlete in history – pole vault legend Sergey Bubka – has won more world titles in a single discipline.
Fajdek produced a world-leading throw of 81.98m – the longest distance of any of his world title-winning marks – to win from compatriot and Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki (81.03m) and Norway’s Eivind Henriksen (80.87m). The same three men shared a podium at the Tokyo Olympics last year, albeit in a different order.
France’s Quentin Bigot and Hungary’s Bence Halasz, silver and bronze medallists respectively in Doha three years ago, made an impact in round one. Bigot took an early lead with 79.52m and Halasz was close behind with 79.12m, both men throwing farther than they did to earn medals in Doha.
But in a competitive final like today, their marks didn’t stay at the top of the leaderboard for long.
Round two kicked off with the first 80-metre throw of the competition as Nowicki sent his hammer out to 80.07m to take the lead. But Henriksen responded with 80.87m to bump the Pole off the top spot. Fajdek, who had opened with a modest 74.71m, found his groove in round two and landed a throw of 80.58m to knock Nowicki further down the pecking order.
Nowicki responded with a third-round throw of 81.03m to take the lead, but it was short lived because Fajdek produced the eventual winning mark of 81.98m later that round.
Bigot and Halasz also came back fighting in that round as both men threw beyond 80 metres, but it wasn’t enough to get among the medal placings. Bigot threw 80.24m, while Halasz set a PB of 80.15m.
There were no changes to the positions after the third round, though several of the finalists got close to the 80-metre line. Further down the field, US duo Rudy Winkler (78.99m) and Daniel Haugh (78.10m) finished sixth and eighth respectively. Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Kokhan finished between them in seventh (78.83m).
“This was the competition that matters the most this year, so I am glad that the major gold is in my hand for the fifth time,” said Fajdek. “It’s no secret that I was aiming to break the championship record (83.63m), but next year I’ll have another chance in Budapest.”
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics
|MEN'S HAMMER MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||Pawel Fajdek 🇵🇱 POL||81.98m WL|
|🥈||Wojciech Nowicki 🇵🇱 POL||81.03m SB|
|🥉||Eivind Henriksen 🇳🇴 NOR||80.87m SB|