Christina Schwanitz in action in the shot put (© Bongarts / Getty Images)
Fifteen months since her last competition – and 14 months since undergoing knee surgery – 2015 world champion Christina Schwanitz returned to the shot put ring in Chemnitz on Sunday (24) and unleashed a 19.11m winning effort.
The 35-year-old German, who hadn’t competed since taking bronze at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, opened her series with a foul and followed it with an 18.00m heave. Katharina Maisch held a slender lead with her 18.04m lifetime best in round one, but Schwanitz surpassed that with her fourth-round throw of 18.79m.
In the final round, Sara Gambetta moved into second place with 18.18m before Schwanitz released her winning throw of 19.11m. Maisch responded with another PB, this time 18.12m, but it wasn’t enough to move out of third place.
“I really can’t complain about 19.11m after such a long time without competition,” said Schwanitz, the two-time European champion.
Martinot-Lagarde and Zango victorious in Miramas
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde opened his 2021 season with a 7.54 60m hurdles victory to highlight the Meeting Elite de Miramas in Miramas, France, on Friday (22).
Martinot-Lagarde, the European 110m hurdles champion, worked out the rust with a 7.64 clocking in the heats before his 7.54 world leader in the final, to register his quickest season's debut since 2017. Wilhem Belocian was second in 7.57, also his quickest season's opener and the fourth-fastest time of his career.
Hugues Fabrice Zango, who electrified the early season with a stunning 18.07m world indoor triple jump record in Aubière one week ago, followed up with another victory, reaching 17.05m in the final round. The 27-year-old produced just two measured jumps, the other a 16.98m effort from round two.
Carolle Zahi of France and Hassan Taftian of Iran won the women's and men's 60m, clocking 7.19 and 6.68 respectively. Alice Finot won the women's 3000m in a 9:02.63 PB, ahead of Frenchwoman Sara Benfares who clocked 9:04.94, a national U23 indoor record.
In Prague on Saturday, world indoor bronze medallist Tomas Stanek won the shot put with 21.48m and three-time world indoor 400m champion Pavel Maslak got his season under way with a 21.02 clocking over 200m.
Germany’s Tatjana Pinto won the 60m in Leverkusen on Saturday in 7.18, her fastest time for three years, while over on the other side of the country in Chemnitz, Rebekka Haase recorded a 7.26 and 23.09 60m/200m sprint double and Corinna Schwab recorded an indoor PB of 52.27 to win the 400m.
Boling clocks 45.51 in Columbia
One week after recording a 60m PB of 6.64, multi-talented Matthew Boling jumped to the top of the world list for 400m with his 45.51 run at the Carolina Challenge in Columbia on Saturday (23).
The 20-year-old hit the headlines in 2019 when he ran a wind-assisted 9.98 for 100m, leapt 8.01m for the long jump and went on to win four gold medals at the Pan-American U20 Championships.
He won the 400m with ease in Columbia as Champion Allison finished second in 46.23 and Leander Forbes clocked 46.41 in third place.
Tamara Clark also produced a world-leading run in Columbia, clocking 22.90 in the 200m. The 22-year-old also won the 60m in 7.28.
Commonwealth triple jump bronze medallist Thea Lafond uncorked the jump of her life at the Liberty Elite Invitational in Lynchburg on Saturday. The 26-year-old flew out to a world-leading 14.52m to smash her own outright national record. Elsewhere in Lynchburg, Scott Houston won the pole vault with 5.75m, his best vault since taking the 2018 US indoor title.
There were even bigger clearances from Chris Nilsen and KC Lightfoot on Saturday. Nilsen scaled 5.90m in Vermillion, while Lightfoot cleared the same height to win at the Aggie Invitational in College Station. At the same meeting, Athing Mu broke the collegiate indoor record over 600m, stopping the clock at 1:25.80.
Adrian Piperi won the shot put with a 21.12m toss to highlight the Wooo Pig Classic in Fayetteville, USA, on Friday (22).
Piperi, the 2015 world U18 champion and twice a medallist at the World U20 Championships, improved his indoor best to 21.07m in the fourth round before his 21.12m effort in the fifth round, adding one centimetre to his absolute career best he set last June. Piperi is the second man to throw beyond 21 metres this season and sits second on the world list behind Olympic champion Ryan Crouser who threw 22.58m in December.
Elsewhere on the Randal Tyson Center track, which will host the inaugural American Track League meeting and World Athletics Indoor Tour opener on Sunday, Tara Davis, the 2015 world U18 champion in the long jump, won her event with a 6.56m leap in her second competition of the season. Swede Lisa Gunnarsson, who competes for Louisiana State University, won the pole vault with a 4.50m clearance.
On the track, Twanisha Terry, another age group standout earlier in her career, won the 60m in 7.14, equalling her personal best. Abby Steiner was second in 7.22. And Kenyan Amon Kemboi, who competes for the University of Arkansas, won the mile in 3:58.26, the 117th sub-four at the Tyson Center venue.
Walsh and Adams notch shot put wins in Hastings
Shot put stars Tom Walsh and Valerie Adams opened their 2021 campaigns with victories at the Potts Classic in Hastings, New Zealand, on Saturday (23).
Walsh, the world bronze medallist, opened with a 20.08m effort, improved to 20.71m in the second and topped out with a 20.78m throw in the fifth.
Adams meanwhile reached 18.34m with her first throw, her farthest of the day. She produced an 18.11m effort in the fifth round, her only other toss beyond the 18-metre line. World U20 champion Maddison-Lee Wesche was second with 18.08m. It's the first time two Kiwi women have thrown beyond 18 metres in the same shot put competition.
The meeting also hosted the national 3000m championships. Samuel Tanner took the men's title in 7:54.16 and Kara MacDermid the women's, clocking 9:44.27.
Bob Ramsak and Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics