Johannes Vetter threatened the world record in the javelin throw to highlight the Skolimowska Memorial, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Chorzow, Silesia, Poland, on Sunday (6).
Vetter, already history's second farthest thrower coming into the competition, unleashed a massive effort through the cloudy late afternoon sky that ultimately sailed 97.76m. It was the second farthest throw of all-time, landing 72 centimetres shy of Jan Zelezny's 98.48m world record set 24 years ago.
"I just don't know what to say, it was really close to a perfect moment," said Vetter, who threw more than three metres farther than he’s ever thrown before.
"You can feel it in your body when you have a good throw,” the 2017 world champion said. “Mostly you feel the whole energy behind it, from your whole body - from the right toe to the chest to the hands. In the javelin you need your whole body. But it's really hard to explain - you feel it for less than one second. But then you realise that it was a huge throw."
It's a rare feeling, too. Vetter said he's only experienced it once before, in Lucerne three years ago when he unleashed his previous lifetime best and German national record of 94.44m. He thinks he's fully capable of crossing paths with that physical cosmic alignment once again.
"I think that lots of people didn't think it was possible to throw a javelin more than 95 metres in a closed stadium. I did it and I think there is a lot space for improvement. Very small differences, tiny differences, can make a difference of many metres."
His big throw hardly let the wind out of his proverbial sails. That throw came in round three; in the fourth, he unleashed another mammoth effort that landed well clear of the 90-metre line, touching down at 94.84m, the fifth farthest throw ever. His next flew 89.95m before he capped the day with an 87.28m.
He returns to action in Dessau on Tuesday.
Crouser’s unprecedented form continues
Vetter wasn’t the only thrower in spectacular form at the recently renamed National Athletics Stadium in the Silesian city of Chorzow, just outside of the regional capital Katowice.
Once again Ryan Crouser put his current dominance of the shot put on display, winning with a 22.70m throw that capped a series of five throws that flew well beyond the 22-metre line.
Opening with a 22.53m effort, he followed up with a 22.59m in the second round before his big 22.70m heave in the third. He sent the next one to 22.52m, fouled in round five and closed off the competition with 22.42m.
Crouser, who improved to 22.92m earlier this season, only arrived in Poland last night and said that jetlag left him a bit sluggish in the latter stages of the competition. “I really felt my energy levels dip after the first three throws,” he said. He’ll likely be less so in Ostrava in two nights’ time.
Michal Haratyk came closest, reaching 21.78m to finish a distant second. Italy's Leonardo Fabbri was third with 20.96m.
Fajdek defeats Nowicki
The meeting competition honours 2000 Olympic hammer throw champion Kamila Skolimowska and fittingly, produced a compelling competition in that event for the several thousand fans who turned out on the cloudy and chilly afternoon and early evening.
Four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek set the tone on the men's side, throwing a season's best of 79.81m in the second round. It was his only measured throw of the night, giving local rival Wojciech Nowicki ample time to nab the victory. But he fell short, a 78.88m throw in the fourth round his best of the night.
Alexandra Tavernier of France won the women's competition with 74.12m, ahead of Pole Malwina Kopron who threw 72.37m.
Muir’s momentum continues
Laura Muir produced another impressive 1500m run, the evening’s best performance on the track, taking a commanding victory in 3:58.24, a meeting record and the second fastest time in the world this year, second only to her own 3:57.86 world lead from Oslo two weeks ago.
Breaking from the field as she entered the backstretch, she forged on alone, while behind her Sofia Ennaoui mounted a solid assault on the Polish record of 3:59.22 set by Lidia Chojecka 20 years ago. The 25-year-old, who finished second to Muir at the last European Championships, came up just a bit shy, clocking 3:59.70, her first jaunt into sub-4:00 territory.
Further back, Claudia Bobocea of Romania was third in 4:01.31, also a lifetime best.
Ferguson Rotich Cheruiyot reeled in Wesley Vasquez over the final 20 metres to win his third straight 800m contest, clocking 1:45.30 to the Puerto Rican's 1:45.47 season's best.
Local stars Adam Kszczot and Marcin Lewandowski were never quite in the hunt, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the pair's 71st meeting over the distance.
Stahl notches 13th straight victory
Daniel Stahl extended his unbeaten streak to 13, the world champion beating another solid field with a 67.28m best. Slovenian rising star Kristjan Ceh was second with 66.16m, well clear of Andrius Gudzius, the 2017 world champion, who reached 64.45m.
The women's javelin, which was held concurrently with the men's, produced a home victory courtesy of Olympic finalist Maria Andrejczyk, who put the competition out of reach with a 65.70m throw in the first round. Sara Kolak, the Olympic champion, never quite found a rhythm and finished third with 61.25m.
Auriole Dongmo of Portugal took the women's shot with a fourth round 18.33m effort to beat Czech Marketa Cervenkova by a lone centimetre.
Polish pole vault record holder Piotr Lisek beat back a recent hamstring strain to produce another home victory, clearing 5.82m to beat world champion Sam Kendricks, who topped 5.72m.
Elsewhere, Elvira Herman notched a minor upset in the 100m hurdles, handing world leader Nadine Visser her first loss of the abbreviated season, clocking 12.87. Visser was second in 12.95.
Karol Zalewski won the 400m in 45.74, 0.04 ahead of Dutchman Jochem Dobber before Justyna Swiety-Ersetic capped the evening's action on the track with a victory in the women's 400m in 51.33, a season's best for the European champion.
Dafne Schippers defeated Polish star Ewa Swoboda in her first 100m race of the year, 11.29 to 11.34.
And Yuliya Levchenko, one of this season's two two-metre jumpers, scaled 1.92m to win the high jump.
Bob Ramsak for World Athletics