Robert Harting in the mens Discus Throw at the IAAF World Championships 2013
Germany’s Robert Harting took his third consecutive IAAF World Championships Discus title and then, in similar fashion to Berlin and Daegu, promptly shredded his vest to show off the muscles which had propelled him to victory.
In many respects, it was the best of his three triumphs, with his winning distance of 69.11m being better than the marks he reached in 2009 and 2011.
It was also a contest he exhibited control over from the second round.
Estonia’s 2008 Olympic Games champion Gerd Kanter, now 34, took an early lead when he sent his 2kg implement out to 64.90m in the first round, with Harting only managing a 62.16m.
If it had been known to the public that he was carrying a minor back strain, which he admitted to later, perhaps there would have been brief concern that Harting was in trouble but he found his rhythm in the second round and launched the Discus out to 68.13m, despite a technique he bluntly described as ‘bad’.
Kanter countered with 65.19m when he entered the circle three throws later in the second round but it still meant he, and the rest of the field, were almost three metres in arrears of the German.
Malachowski then started to get involved in the contest and threw 65.09m in the third round to consolidate his bronze medal position.
Poland’s 2010 European champion and the 2013 world list leader then turned that prospective medal into silver with his fourth effort of 67.18m.
Harting must have realized at that point that the man who ended his 35-meeting winning streak in June with a world-leading distance of 71.84m still meant business but he conjured up the perfect response with a throw of 69.11m.
Malachowski improved further with his fifth throw when he added over a metre to his mark as his platter landed at 68.36m as Harting, due to physical discomfort or psychological tactics, decided to pass his penultimate turn in the circle.
The Pole beseeched the crowd to assist him and pleaded for support as he entered the circle for the last time but could only throw 67.21m
Moments later the destination of the minor medals was confirmed as Kanter fouled his final effort and the 2007 World champion had to settle for third place, although he got a medal for his fifth successive World Championships.
With the gold medal secure, Harting could relax and he tossed the Discus out to 69.08m, just three centimetres short of his best on the night but still better than anyone else had managed at the World Championships since 2005.
It was the cue for the celebrations to start and the extravert Harting kept everyone happy with some entertaining antics although, in contrast to the post-event partying on the Berlin Olympic Stadium track after his World Championships first victory four years ago, this time the Championships mascot disappointingly stayed in the distance and survived unmolest.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF