Polish hammer thrower Wojciech Nowicki (© AFP / Getty Images)
Making their first IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge appearance of 2019, Polish duo Wojceich Nowicki and Pawel Fajdek produced the highlight of the inaugural Irena Szewinska Memorial in Bydgoszcz on Wednesday (12).
One of the most thrilling domestic rivalries in athletics, Nowicki and Fajdek have dominated the international hammer scene in recent years. Fajdek is a three-time world champion and has won the Hammer Throw Challenge on four occasions, but his mantle as the world – and Polish – No.1 has been claimed by Nowicki, who last year won the European title, threw a world-leading 81.85m and ended the year as the winner of the Hammer Throw Challenge.
Unsurprisingly, the two men occupied the top two spots in Bydgoszcz. And once again, it was a close competition.
Commonwealth champion Nick Miller led in the first round with 76.69m, but he was soon overtaken by Nowicki’s 79.03m. Nowicki then improved to a world-leading 80.26m in round three and just moments later was joined beyond the 80-metre line by Fajdek, who threw a season’s best of 80.09m.
Miller, now in third place, consolidated his position with a fourth-round throw of 78.39m – the second-best mark of his career. Fajdek fouled his remaining throws, while Nowicki backed up his leading mark with efforts of 80.07m and 79.26m.
Hungary’s Bence Halasz was fourth with a season’s best of 78.27m, while Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov was further down the field in eighth place (74.55m).
“80.26m and a world lead is a good start in the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge,” said Nowicki, who will compete in Chorzow on Sunday (16). “It’s nice to be able to compete here to commemorate the launch of the Irena Szewinska Memorial.”
Fajdek still has the career head-to-head advantage, but counting just the competitions from 2018 onwards, Nowicki is now in front, 8-6.
Keen to pay tribute to Szewinska – the only athlete in history to set world records at 100m, 200m and 400m – who died in June 2018, Polish athletes were out in force.
European indoor and outdoor champion Michal Haratyk dominated the men’s shot put, winning with a season’s best of 21.90m – just 18 centimetres shy of his own national record.
The shortest of Haratyk’s five measured throws was 21.40m, which would have still been enough to win comfortably. Nigeria’s Chuk Enekwechi was second with 20.98m.
World indoor champion Adam Kszczot notched up his first 800m victory of the year, winning convincingly in 1:45.14 to beat South Africa’s Tshepo Tshite (1:45.78).
Niger’s Amina Seyni produced a stunning finish in the women’s 400m, moving from eighth to first place in the final 100 metres to win in 51.11. European champion Justyna Swiety-Erestic was second in 51.30.
In a long jump competition where just six centimetres separated the top three women, Hungary’s Anasztazia Nguyen won on countback with a wind-assisted 6.57m (3.1m/s). Portugal’s Evelise Veiga was second, although her 6.57m was recorded with a valid wind (0.9m/s).
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF