Report23 Aug 2014

Bolt entertains in Warsaw but local hammer star Fajdek is the top performer


Pawel Fajdek, winner of the hammer (© Marek Biczyk)

Usain Bolt finally went under 10 seconds this season when he won in 9.98 into a slight breeze despite the closed roof, and in front of an audience estimated at about 20,000, on a specially constructed 100m straight track down the side of the infield area in Warsaw’s National Stadium at the LOTTO Kamila Skolimowska Memorial on Saturday evening (23).

Bolt’s Polish outing was his third of the season as he builds up to his first ‘conventional’ individual race of the year, running over 100m at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday.

He anchored Jamaica to 4x100m gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last month and last weekend he thrilled crowds in an exhibition 100m race on Brazil’s famous Copacabana beach, winning in a time of 10.06.

Bolt won in Brazil by the yawning margin of 0.37 and almost had as much time to spare in the Polish capital as his nearest rival was his fellow Jamaican Sheldon Mitchell, who was second in 10.33.

"The competition in the stadium was an interesting experience. Because of the closed roof, there were different acoustics; the cheers of the supporters echoed around," said Bolt.

"This was a fun event and I'm pleased to go below ten seconds but this is a transitional season for me. Next year, I will be in better shape for the World Championships," he added.

"What do I remember best about Poland? The soccer match with the children. It was unexpected, and a lot of fun. I also got a KFC bucket filled with candy as a birthday gift (he turned 28 last Thursday). I like chocolate and I had a little, but I think my agent ate far more!"

Bolt's opposition will be a lot more formidable in Zurich than in Warsaw as there will be three other sub-10 men on the start line as well as Great Britain’s recently-crowned European 200m champion Adam Gemili.

The spotlight was on Bolt, making his first appearance on Polish soil, but the best result of the meeting was without doubt produced by local hammer star and 2013 world champion Pawel Fajdek.

Fajdek dominated his specialist event with an outstanding series that saw him reach a national record of 83.48m in the second round, the best hammer performance in the world since 2008 and a 10-centimetre improvement on the Polish mark held by Szymon Ziolkowski, when the latter threw 83.38m to win the 2001 world title.

All six of Fajdek’s throws were valid and landed beyond 80 metres. His complete series was: 80.19m, 83.48m, 83.37m, 82.16m, 81.57m, 81.46m.

"For me, this is not logical, I'm shocked. I did not train at all after (the European Championships in) Zurich and now this," said a stunned Fajdek.

He also got revenge over Hungary’s Olympic champion Krisztian Pars, who beat him to the European title last week but was a distant second this time with 78.56m.

It was a Polish double with the ball-and-chain as the popular 2009 world champion and former world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk, who won the European title last week, continued her fine run of form by tossing her implement out to 77.66m. She held off Germany’s Betty Heidler, who was second with 76.26m.

The other men’s throws saw US shot putter Reese Hoffa take the honours with 20.81m while Germany’s three-time world champion Robert Harting won the discus with 67.40m.

In the men’s 110m hurdles, Cuba’s Orlando Ortega produced the best performance on the track and won in a quick 13.03, leaving French record-holder Pascal Martinot Lagarde having to settle for second in 13.06.

Russia’s Mariya Kuchina cleared 1.97m to win the women’s high jump while Germany’s Melanie Bauschke was the best in the women’s long jump with 6.51m.

There was another German win in the women’s 100m as Verena Sailer clocked 11.25 while USA’s world indoor champion Nia Ali won the 100m hurdles in 12.77.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF