Team Europe was trailing Team Americas after the first day of the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup, and as the women’s Hammer was the first event of day two, Europe was hopeful of landing a 1-2 finish to help close the deficit.
Represented by 2010 European Champion Betty Heidler and 2006 European Champion Tatyana Lysenko, their quest for maximum points seemed a realistic one. But you can never discount the quality of former two-time World Champion Yipsi Moreno or World and Olympic bronze medallist Zhang Wenxiu.
Lysenko opened proceedings with a 72.64m effort, but Zhang of Team Asia-Pacific led at the end of the first round with a throw of 73.69m. Moreno’s first hammer ended up in the cage, and her second one landed near the 75m mark but was outside of the sector.
Lysenko improved to 73.18m in round three – good, but not good enough for the lead. After a modest opener of 70.38m and a foul in round two, Heidler finally unleashed a decent throw of 72.70m but it did not improve her third place position.
Moreno of Team Americas managed 72.73m in the final round to move into third and relegate Heidler to fourth. Lysenko entered the circle for her final throw and sent it flying near the 75m line, but was it enough?
The measurement came up – 73.88m – and Lysenko had done enough to snatch the lead with the penultimate throw of the competition. Zhang couldn’t respond and closed with 72.71m. It was not quite the finish Team Europe expected, but it was a crucial victory nonetheless.