Hungarian hammer thrower Krisztian Pars (© Getty Images)
For the second time in as many weeks, Olympic hammer champion Krisztian Pars travelled to world champion Pawel Fajdek’s home country and came out the victor, this time at the Janusz Kusocinski Memorial, part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, in Szczecin on Saturday (7).
Fajdek took an early lead with his opening effort of 78.15m, but it only lasted as the best mark of the competition for two rounds, because in the third round Pars took the lead with 78.32m.
Pars then extended his lead to 79.35m with his penultimate throw. Meanwhile, Marcel Lomnicky had been closing in on Fajdek – first with 77.00m, then 77.46m and 77.66m – before finally overtaking the Pole with a last-round hurl of 78.40m.
Tadjikistan’s two-time Asian Games champion Dilshod Nazarov also challenged for second place in the final round, but his throw was measured at 78.08m, putting him just seven centimetres behind Fajdek.
For Pars it was his second successive win over Fajdek, as he triumphed with 80.49m over the world champion at the end of May in an exhibition competition in Wroclaw where the throws took place over a river.
His winning mark there doesn’t count for official purposes, so his 79.35m throw in Szczecin will count as Pars’ season’s best. It also gave him enough points to move him into the overall lead in the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge standings.
Lomnicky’s 78.40m was the second-best mark of his career, just 33cm shy of the PB he set when winning his second successive silver medal at last year’s World University Games. He moves to second in this year’s IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, but with nine meetings left in the series it is still early days yet.
Hoffa defeats Majewski
Following his surprise win at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, 2007 world champion Reese Hoffa continued his good run of form by winning in Szczecin. His opening throw of 21.26m effectively ended the contest and proved enough to win, but he followed it with three more valid attempts near the 21-metre line: 20.97m, 20.99m and 20.89m.
Two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski had to settle for second place with a season’s best of 21.04m, but the biggest surprise came from Tomas Stanek of the Czech Republic, who smashed through the 20-metre barrier for the first time outdoors in his career, taking third place with a PB of 20.93m.
During the indoor season the 22-year-old had already improved his outright best from 19.50m to 20.39m, but this latest breakthrough suggests he could be a real contender at championship level.
Popular wins from Licwinko and Ennaoui
Although two of Poland’s biggest stars were defeated, there were some home victories in Szczecin.
World indoor champion Kamila Licwinko won the high jump on count-back from Polish rival Justyna Kasprzycka as both cleared 1.95m. After her first-time clearance at that height, Licwinko went on to attempt a would-be Polish record of 2.01m but was unsuccessful on all three tries.
World indoor 800m silver medallist Angelika Cichocka suffered a surprise defeat in the 1500m to her younger compatriot Sofia Ennaoui, who set a national junior record of 4:07.34 to win by 0.21.
Both of Poland’s top middle-distance prospects were present in the men’s 800m with two-time European indoor champion Adam Kszczot winning over Marcin Lewandowski, 1:45.48 to 1:45.90.
Elsewhere, Tomasz Jaszczuk won the long jump with 8.01m, Ukraine’s Hanna Platitsyna set a PB of 12.95 to win the 100m hurdles, and European under-23 champion Karol Zalewski took a 100m-200m double in 10.42 and 20.58.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF