German javelin thrower Johannes Vetter (© Getty)
The two-year-old Prefontaine Classic and Hayward Field record in the men’s javelin is in serious jeopardy, as the two farthest throwers in the world lead the best field ever assembled in this event at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on 25-26 May.
The high-quality field features all three medallists from the IAAF World Championships London 2017, three of the past four IAAF Diamond Trophy winners, and even the world U20 record-holder.
Most of the focus, though, will be on world champion Johannes Vetter and Olympic champion Thomas Röhler.
Between them, the German duo has produced the three longest throws since the turn of the century. The only man who has ever thrown farther than either is world record-holder Jan Zelezny, whose world record of 98.48m dates back to 1996.
The current Hayward Field and meeting record of 87.37m was set in 2016 by Ihab Abdelrahman of Egypt. Last year Vetter and Röhler threw farther than that mark a combined 38 times.
A month before winning the world title in London last year, Vetter launched his spear 94.44m in Luzern to move to second on the world all-time list. The 24-year-old has opened up the 2018 season on fire, throwing 91.22m in Potchefstroom in February and improving to 92.70m at the European Throwing Cup last weekend in Portugal.
Röhler made his own history in Rio, becoming the first German man to strike Olympic javelin gold since 1972. Last year he set an IAAF Diamond League record of 93.90m in Doha, which at the time put him second on the world all-time list before he was leap-frogged by Vetter two months later. Röhler, winner of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League title, narrowly missed a medal last year in London by six centimetres.
Jakub Vadlejch won his second consecutive IAAF Diamond League trophy last year. The 27-year-old from the Czech Republic earned the silver medal in London with a lifetime best of 89.73m.
Compatriot Petr Frydrych made it two Czech athletes on the podium in London when he took a surprise bronze medal with a PB of 88.32m. The 30-year-old is coached by world record-holder Zelezny.
Andreas Hofmann is sometimes overlooked among his German compatriots, but last year he moved to 14th on the world all-time list when throwing 91.07m to take the silver medal at the World University Games in Taipei.
India’s Neeraj Chopra set a world U20 record of 86.48m as an 18-year-old when winning the 2016 world U20 title. Last week, the 20-year-old recorded his second-longest throw ever at 85.94m.
The remaining positions in the field will be filled later this spring with the best-performing throwers not already included.
Organisers for the IAAF
2018 IAAF Diamond League calendar
4 May – Doha, QAT
12 May – Shanghai, CHN
26 May – Eugene, USA
31 May – Rome, ITA
7 Jun – Oslo, NOR
10 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
30 Jun – Paris, FRA
5 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
13 Jul – Rabat, MAR
20 Jul – Monaco, MON
21-22 Jul – London, GBR
18 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
30 Aug – Zurich, SUI
31 Aug – Brussels, BEL