Hammer Throw Final - Szymon Ziolkowski and Koji Murofushi (© © Allsport)
Poland’s newly crowned World championship hammer gold medallist Szymon Ziolkowski described last year’s Olympic final in Sydney, which he also won, as “a piece of cake” in comparison to the absorbing tussle he endured against Japan’s Koji Murofushi to win the gold in Edmonton’s Commonwealth stadium.
Last night’s competition could not have been tighter with Ziolkowski unleashing a 83.38m championship and national record in the fifth round to beat season’s world lead and pre-event favourite Murofushi who had led since the second round with 82.46m. There was then an agonising wait for the Pole while Murofushi immediately responded with 82.92m and then in the final round, produced another marvellous 82.61m release.
“That was a very tough competition” said Ziolkowski. “Trust me, when you are in the lead it is not an enjoyable experience standing out there in the middle of the arena waiting for someone as talented as Koji to take his last throw!”
So Ziolkowski joins Sergey Litvinov (URS; 1987/1988) and Andrey Abduvaliyev (TJK; 1992/1993) as the only men to have held both the World and Olympic hammer crowns at the same time. The 24 year old Pole’s explanation for his consistency is quite simple.
“I got married on 26th December last year (wife’s name is Asia) and so my personal life is becoming more stable and it is from these firm foundations that I am able to throw so long and consistently. Also my back is strong. Yes I’m in excellent physical shape.”
Ziolkowski is fast becoming a major sporting star in Poland, which since taking the European Cup team title has experienced a major boom in track and field. Along with the increased interest in the sport, the media demands on stars like Ziolkowski have also intensified and he tentatively revealed that he has already sold the photographs from his last holiday to “Play Girl” magazine.
“I have never asked her permission about selling the photographs and I ‘m not going to tell her either, because she is a javelin thrower! It would be too dangerous to have such a discussion!!”