Anita Wlodarczyk spins to a meeting record in Ostrava (© Bob Ramsak)
As expected, Anita Wlodarczyk dominated the proceedings at the Golden Spike hammer competition in Ostrava on Tuesday, collecting her 37th straight victory courtesy of a 79.72m meeting record. On the men’s side, world champion Pawel Fajdek added more than a metre to his own world lead with an 83.44m effort, the third farthest of his career, and a record at this IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge meeting.
Wlodarczyk takes command early…
Opening with 75.62m, Wlodarczyk followed up with 79.68m in the second round to add a hefty 1.14m to the meeting record she set one year ago. A 79.07m throw followed in round three before she once again threatened the 80-metre line with a 79.72m throw in the fifth, a distance no other woman has ever reached.
That took some of the wind out of her sails. Her next effort landed at 76.76m but, reenergised, she capped the competition near the 80-metre marker, reaching 79.27m.
“I’m always aiming for 80 metres-plus, but I was consistent, and it was a meeting record, so I’m pleased with today’s competition,” the twice world and two-time Olympic champion said. “Missing (80 metres) leaves another challenge for next year.”
More immediate on her list of challenges is to retain her world title in just over five weeks' time and to pad her 82.98m world record.
“My main goal of course is the World Championships this year, but I’m also thinking about the world record,” the Pole said. “I am in good shape and I know that I can throw very far.”
Wang Zheng of China, currently fifth on the world all-time list at 77.68m, was also pleased with her runner-up performance, one built atop a reasonably consistent series of her own.
Opening with modest efforts of 69.05m and 71.90m, she spun into her groove in round three with a 76.03m season’s best. She improved that to 76.25m with her last throw.
European bronze medallist Hanna Skydan of Azerbaijan was third, topping out with a sixth-round 74.25m, just over a metre shy of her season’s best. Sophie Hitchon of Great Britain, the Olympic bronze medallist, reached 73.68m, also in round six, to finish fourth.
Pole Malwina Kopron threw 73.39m in round three to eventually finish fifth.
…and so does Fajdek
Fajdek meanwhile stamped his authority on the competition even sooner, releasing his 83.44m effort in the opening round, relegating Krisztian Pars’ five-year-old meeting record to the history books.
“I was traveling all day and I was very tired,” said Fajdek, who arrived in this eastern Czech city directly from the European Team Championships in Lille. Upon arrival, he said, he slept for nearly 12 hours, but still didn’t feel energised today.
“I was bored all day so I decided to put one hundred percent into the first throw because I was feeling tired and the hammer felt very heavy. So it made me really happy that I was able to throw more than 83 metres.”
He followed up with a solid 81.88m throw but then lost his stride, producing three consecutive fouls before wrapping up with a 79.61m toss.
“I thought maybe I could do something more after the first round, but not now. I have hard training now. I knew I could throw 82 or 83 metres but not today. So I’m really surprised about this long throw.”
Fajdek has four more competitions lined up before heading to London for the World Championships.
His compatriot Wojciech Nowicki, the Olympic bronze medallist, made a strong impression as well by blasting into the 80-metre club with a second-round 80.31m throw. The effort added 1.75m to his previous lifetime best. It wasn’t a one-off either; the 28-year-old threw 80.25m in the fourth round with two more measured throws sailing 79.41m and 79.35m.
Behind him, Bence Halasz, last year’s world U20 champion and still 19, reached 78.85m in the final round, an improvement of nearly three metres on his previous best of 76.05m, elevating him from sixth place to the final podium position.
Further back, Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov reached a season’s best of 77.81m to finish fourth. Slovak Marcel Lomnicky reached 77.03m in the third round, good enough for fifth.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF