Anita Wlodarczyk, winner of the hammer at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava
As is tradition, the hammer contests were held on the eve of the main competition at the Golden Spike meeting, part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, in Ostrava on Monday (25).
And, for the first time in the 54-year history of the meeting, both hammer winners were from the same country as Polish duo Anita Wlodarczyk and Pawel Fajdek won with relative ease.
Olympic champion Krisztian Pars and former world record-holder Betty Heidler had won in Ostrava for the past three years, but both were beaten on Monday.
Wlodarczyk, winner in Ostrava in 2009 and 2010, opened her series with 70.17m, but then moved from fourth to first place in the second round with a throw of 75.48m.
Her winning mark of 76.61m came in the third round, beating her winning mark from 2009 by two centimetres. She ended her series with 75.65m and 74.12m.
Defending champion Heidler maintained her second-place position from round two onwards. After opening with 72.25m, she improved to 72.64m in round three and 72.73m in round four before throwing a season’s best of 75.00m in the penultimate round.
European bronze medallist Martina Hrasnova also improved throughout the competition, producing her best of 74.13m with her final throw to finish third. Asian record-holder Wang Zheng was fourth with 72.83m.
“I am very happy with my win and performance today which is only about one meter less than I threw in Beijing,” said world record-holder Wlodarczyk, who threw a world-leading 77.73m five days ago at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Beijing.
“I really like competing at the Golden Spike and I am very happy that I could win here. The main goal for now is the upcoming World Championships in Beijing.”
With three competitions in the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge under her belt already this year, Hrasnova now takes the series lead with a score of 222.20, 1.70 ahead of Wang. But Wlodarczyk, who has only competed in two challenge meetings so far in 2015, will only need to throw about 68 metres in her next competition to take the overall lead.
Victory at last for new father Fajdek
After four previous appearances at the Golden Spike, the best of which was a second-place finish in 2012, Fajdek finally won the men’s competition in Ostrava.
Competing in the same city in which he won the 2011 European under-23 title, all three of Fajdek’s valid throws would have been enough to win.
Following an opening foul, the world champion threw 80.75m in the second round which remained the best mark of the competition. He backed it up with throws of 80.16m and 79.88m in the final two rounds.
Three-time Asian Games champion Dilshod Nazarov was similarly consistent in second place. His five measured throws all ranged between 78.22m and 79.36m and kept him in second place for much of the competition.
Defending champion Pars had a competition he’ll be keen to forget. The Olympic champion had just two valid throws, the best of which was 77.71m, his shortest distance of his past 16 competitions. It meant that for the first time since September 2011, he finished outside the top two in a hammer competition.
“I am always happy when I get over the 80-metre line,” said Fajdek, who became a father for the first time last week, one day after throwing a world-leading 82.76m in Halle. “This was a very good competition. Last year I experienced some troubles with my technique due to my injuries. But this year is different so far.
“I am a little tired because the first few days after my daughter was born were quite busy.”
With no man having competed in more than one meeting so far in the 2015 IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, Fajdek's throw in Ostrava was enough to give him an early lead in the series.
Jon Mulkeen and organisers for the IAAF