Poland's Pawel Fajdek in action in the hammer (© AFP / Getty Images)
The Prefontaine Classic will stage the best men’s hammer competition on US soil since the 1996 Olympics when the discipline returns to the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on 28 May after a hiatus of 11 years.
The field includes the reigning Olympic champion and the top four finishers from last year’s IAAF World Championships. The stadium record of 82.65m, set 12 years ago by 2004 Olympic champion Koji Murofushi, could even be challenged as two throwers in the non-Diamond-Race field have lifetime bests farther than that mark.
World champion Pawel Fajdek may be the youngest in the field, but – based on PBs – he is also the best. The 26-year-old Pole successfully defended his world title in Beijing last year and ended the season with an 18-meeting winning streak. He also improved his own national record to 83.93m, the best throw in the world since 2008.
Olympic champion Krisztian Pars has been one of the world’s best hammer throwers for more than a decade. Since 2004, the 34-year-old Hungarian has finished in the top six at 13 consecutive major championships. He leads Fajdek at 29-16 in their career head-to-head record, although Fajdek has won their past eight encounters.
Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov earned the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015. The three-time Asian Games champion has a best of 80.71m and finished between Fajdek and Pars in last year’s IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge.
Poland’s Wojciech Nowicki was a surprise bronze medallist at last year’s World Championships. The 27-year-old set a PB of 78.71m in May and came within 16 centimetres of that to finish third in the Chinese capital.
Mostafa Al-Gamal owns the African record at 81.27m. Last year the Egyptian became Africa’s first finalist in the men’s hammer at the IAAF World Championships, eventually finishing seventh.
Marcel Lomnicky has finished eighth at the past two World Championships. The four-time Slovak champion won the NCAA title in 2009 and has a PB of 79.16m.
USA’s Kibwe Johnson won three of his four national titles at Hayward Field. He set his lifetime best of 80.31m when winning in Eugene in 2011.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL