Robert Harting extends his winning streak in Berlin (© Gladys Chai van der Laage)
Last year’s FBK Games in Hengelo played host to one of the biggest athletics shocks of 2013 as Piotr Malachowski ended Robert Harting’s 33-meeting winning streak. The two giants of the discus world will once again clash at this year’s edition of the IAAF World Challenge meeting on 8 June.
But even more surprising than Harting’s loss was the distance Malachowski managed. His Polish record of 71.84m was the best mark in the world for five years and moved him up to fifth on the world all-time list.
In last year’s competition, Harting actually produced the third-best throw of his career with 69.91m, but it was only good enough to finish second against a top-form Malachowski.
When it comes to major championships though, Harting is the undisputed No.1. The German has won the past three world titles, as well as the Olympic title and European gold medal in 2012.
Dutch hopes will be carried by Erik Cadee. The Olympic finalist has a best of 67.30m and finished second in Hengelo in 2011.
Pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie is another reigning Olympic champion set to compete in Hengelo on 8 June. The Frenchman will be making his debut at the FBK Games and will be trying to break Sergey Bubka’s meeting record of 5.90m, having broken the Ukrainian legend’s world record earlier this year with 6.16m.
"I look forward to jumping in Hengelo,” said Lavillenie. “For me it is a must to win in a stadium where the best athletes have been. My goal is to break the stadium record, and with the help of the public I will hopefully go even higher.”
Another Olympic champion set to compete in Hengelo, long jumper Greg Rutherford, will be up against world silver medallist Ignisious Gaisah.
Earlier this year, Rutherford flew out to a world-leading 8.51m, showing he has recaptured his best ever form after cutting short his 2013 season due to injury.
Gaisah last year won a surprise silver medal at the World Championships with a Dutch record of 8.29m, his best performance since winning the 2006 world indoor title under the flag of his birth nation, Ghana.
Another popular Dutch athlete, European 200m champion Churandy Martina, will also be in Hengelo. One of only three European sprinters to have broken both the 10-second barrier in the 100m and the 20-second barrier in the 200m, Martina will run the 100m in Hengelo as part of his preparation for this year’s European Championships.
Organisers for the IAAF