Christina Schwanitz in the shot at the ISTAF meeting in Berlin (© AFP / Getty Images)
Five world champions will head to Berlin’s ISTAF meeting on Sunday (6) for the next meeting in the IAAF World Challenge and IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge series.
Among the winners from Beijing set to compete in Berlin are both of Germany’s newly crowned world champions: Katharina Molitor in the javelin and Christina Schwanitz in the shot.
Molitor will face her predecessor as world champion, compatriot Christina Obergfoll, while Schwanitz will be up against US champion and world bronze medallist Michelle Carter.
Like most end-of-season competitions, the ISTAF meeting will provide athletes with a chance to gain redemption after the World Championships. Or – for the winners – a chance to prove that their victory wasn’t a fluke.
The men’s pole vault will be one such event. World record-holder Renaud Lavillenie was once again left distraught after finishing equal third in Beijing, but in Berlin he will be up against his four fellow medallists: world champion Shawn Barber, world silver medallist Raphael Holzdeppe and co-bronze medallists Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski.
The men’s discus is another event in which all the medallists from Beijing will clash again in Berlin. Since winning gold in the Chinese capital, Piotr Malachowski was defeated by compatriot and world bronze medallist Robert Urbanek at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich. The Polish duo will be up against world silver medallist Philip Milanov and German pair Christoph Harting and Martin Wierig.
David Storl saw his four-year reign as world shot put champion come to an end in Beijing, but he will want to end his season on a high with victory in front of his home crowd on Sunday when he takes on world bronze medallist O’Dayne Richards and Oceanian record-holder Tom Walsh.
World champion and world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk was a late withdrawal from the hammer. In her absence, Germany’s former world record-holder Betty Heidler appears to be the favourite.
Of the track events in Berlin, the women’s 100m hurdles looks set to be a highlight. One athlete in particular looking for redemption is 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper Nelson.
The US sprint hurdler is usually uber consistent, especially at major championships. But in Beijing she clattered her hurdle and crashed to the ground in her semi-final.
This weekend she will come up against Cindy Roleder, the German who took a surprise silver medal in Beijing. European champion Tiffany Porter and world leader Sharika Nelvis are also in the field.
Nijel Amos was conspicuous in his absence from the World Championships 800m final, so he will be fired up when he takes on world silver medallist Adam Kszczot in Berlin. 2013 world champion Mohammed Aman, Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi and Qatar’s Musaeb Balla are also in the field.
World champion Marina Arzamasova leads the women’s two-lap field. The Belarusian will be up against the two athletes who joined her on the podium at last year’s European Championships, Lynsey Sharp and Joanna Jozwik, along with world indoor champion Chanelle Price, German champion Fabienne Kohlmann and world finalist Rababe Arafi.
USA’s Candyce McGrone just missed out on a medal in the 200m in Beijing, but in Berlin she will step down to the 100m where she will face compatriot Barbara Pierre, Jeneba Tarmoh and Michelle-Lee Ahye.
The men’s 100m features French duo Jimmy Vicaut and Christophe Lemaitre taking on 2003 world champion Kim Collins and world indoor champion Richard Kilty.
Fresh from her victory and national record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich, Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic will be looking for another long jump victory. She lines up against Canadian record-holder Christabel Nettey and world finalist Lorraine Ugen.
Elsewhere, world leader Orlando Ortega contests the 110m hurdles, while world bronze medallist Gesa Felicitas Krause will attempt to break her own national record in the 2000m steeplechase.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF