Johannes Vetter was again in stunning form in the javelin, twice throwing 90 metres or better with a best of 90.86m as part of a stunning series at the 66th edition of Janusz Kusocinski Memorial, a World Athletics Tour Silver Meeting in Chorzow, Poland on Tuesday (25) evening.
The German, who was the world champion and European Athlete of the Year in 2017, opened with 86.81m and then reached his winning distance with his next throw.
He followed this up with superb efforts of 86.40m 90.00m, pass and 89.00m for the ninth competition of his career in excess of 90 metres and the second time this year he has gone beyond that barrier, in the ned finishing just shy of his world-leading 91.49m in Finland two weeks ago.
Czech Republic’s 2013 world champion Viteslav Vesely continued his return to form by taking second with 82.94m while Poland’s otherwise in-form Marcin Krukowski struggled for five rounds to get over the 80-metre line but eventually his technique showed some semblance of that which took him over 87 metres recently when he threw 82.17m in the last round.
Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie produced the most impressive performance on the track when she raced to an untroubled 800m world-lead of 1:58.63, an outdoor personal best.
Following the local pacemaker through the first lap in in 58.82, Reekie was out on her own over the last 200 metres. Behind her, Poland’s 2018 European 1500m silver medallist Sofia Ennaoui came through strongly down the home straight to claim second place in 2:00.12.
Reekie apart, as predicted the best performances came in the men’s throwing events. In addition to Vetter’s impressive efforts early in the meeting, later the Polish pair of Michel Haratyk and Wojciech Nowicki produced European leading distances in their specialist events.
Haratyk took an early lead in the shot put with 21.37m with his opening effort and this kept him in pole position for the first three rounds. However, the 2018 European champion was overtaken when Croatia’s Filip Mihaljevic, who had steadily improved with every throw, reached 21.44m with his fourth attempt and then followed it up by improving to 21.59m the next time he entered the circle.
The Pole then gritted his teeth and with his penultimate throw hurled his implement out to 21.88m, which was to prove to be the winning distance.
Mihaljevic dramatically put everything into his last effort but ended up fouling, rotating out of the circle and falling awkwardly. After lying on the ground for at least a minute, it was to everyone’s relief that the big man rose walked away winded but with only a slight limp.
Nowicki became the first European to throw the hammer over 80 metres this year. After seeing Hungary’s Bence Halasz throw 78.18m in the third round – his only valid throw which secured him second place – Nowicki immediately followed him and executed four quick turns before a technically almost-perfect release sent his hammer flying through the darkening sky over the southern Polish city and landing at 80.09m.
Poland’s four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek had frustration written all over his face for much of the competition but his second round 78.05m was a season’s best and secured him third place in a competition which took place during the main part of the meeting and was eagerly followed by the lucky 5000 spectators who had secured tickets to sit in the massive Slaski Stadium, which will host next year’s World Athletics Relays and is a candidate for the 2024 European Athletics Championships.
Malwina Kopron made it a Polish hammer double triumph as the 2017 world championships bronze medallist won by more than two metres with 73.43m.
Spain’s Orlando Ortega flew to a 110m hurdles victory in 13.25 while there was a surprise win over the barriers for France’s Cyrena Samba Mayela who set a personal best of 12.87.
Poland’s Karolina Koleczek took second in 12.98 while Belarus’ reigning European champion Elvira Herman was never a factor after a poor start and finished third in 13.02.
Great Britain’s Imani Lansiquot overcame a sluggish start in the 100m and overhauled local favourite Ewa Swoboda 30 metres from the line before pulling away to win in 11.19, with the Pole 0.11 back in second place.
Another British victory on the track came courtesy of 400m hurdler Jessie Knight, who fulfilled her role as favourite in the 400m hurdles and romped away to win by more than a second in 55.44.
Doha 2019 silver medallist Marina Bekh-Romanchuk followed up her long jump win at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on Sunday with another victory thanks to a fourth-round effort of 6.78m although Romania’s Alina Rotaru closed the gap between the Ukrainian and the rest of the field with her last round 6.67m.
Two notable victories in Chorzow – which can boast of a spectacular blue Sportflex Super X720 track installed by European Athletics Green Inspiration Partner Mondo – fell to non-European athletes.
In the absence of Poland’s injured 2019 world championships medallist Piotr Lisek, USA’s 2019 world champion Sam Kendricks was a class apart and two heights better than anyone else in the pole vault. The American cleared 5.82m at the first time of asking before failing at 5.92m.
Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich won an entertaining 800m in 1:45.34 with Poland’s former European champion Marcin Lewandowski winning the battle to be the first European runner home in third with 1:45.79. Local star Adam Kszczot was fourth in 1:46.05 while Great Britain’s Jake Weightman was well-placed coming off the bend but tired badly down the home straight and finished a disappointing fifth in 1:46.11.