Another week, another world record was seriously threatened.

With the likes of Karsten Warholm, Mondo Duplantis and Ryan Crouser having crept closer to the top of the world all-time lists in their respective events over the past few weeks, at yesterday’s World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Silesia, it was Johannes Vetter’s turn to take a crack at breaking a world record.

The German javelin thrower hadn’t necessarily targeted Jan Zelezny’s long-standing mark of 98.48m, set back in 1996, but Vetter has been in terrific form all season. The 2017 world champion had thrown beyond 90 metres at the Continental Tour meetings in Turku (91.49m) and Chorzow (90.86m) and headed to Poland last weekend with a string of six victories.

His two opening throws at the Skolimowska Memorial – 83.77m and 86.41m – hadn’t really hinted that a bigger throw was in the offing, but then he unleashed his monster effort in the third round.

As is his trademark, and such is the force with which he throws, Vetter fell to the ground upon release of his javelin. But there was also a glint in his eye; the look of an athlete who realises that they may have done something special.

Still roaring, Vetter stood up quickly and watched as his javelin sailed out across the Silesian Stadium, seemingly defying gravity. After what felt like an age – in javelin-throwing terms, at least – the implement finally landed at the other end of the infield, way beyond the 90-metre line and almost within the shot put sector at the opposite end of the green.

Moments later, the measurement appeared: 97.76m. The second-best throw in history and just 72 centimetres – about a quarter the length of an average javelin – shy of Zelezny’s world record.

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