Robert Harting in the mens Discus Throw at the IAAF World Championships 2013 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Feature Moscow, Russia

Harting wins again, but the celebrations hit a roadblock

Robert Harting's IAAF World Championships victory celebrations ended a bit earlier this time than on previous occasions in Berlin 2009 and Daegu 2011.

A massive Russian security official said enough was enough before the three-time German Discus World champion could complete his journey around Luzhniki Stadium.

"There was no discussion. The guy was probably about 25kg more than me," said the massive Harting. "Moreover I had been having a little problem with my back so I couldn't make a fight," he added with a smile on his face.

He had concluded his memorable victory at the London 2012 Olympics Games last year by jumping a set of women's Hurdles after his traditional routine of ripping off his shirt.

The shirt came off again on Tuesday at the IAAF World Championships, but there were no Hurdles on the track. So Harting tried to make the rounds by circling the area closest to the spectators.

But he only got so far.

"He (the security man) just said, 'W-a-a-a-i-t' in Russian style and I stopped."

There was no stopping Harting in the Discus ring, though.

The winner of the past four global titles overcame a sluggish opener of 62.16m to heave his implement 68.13m on his next throw and take a big lead.

"But I knew the 68.13m was not enough," reflected Harting. "That is why I put everything I had into my fourth throw."

“I had problems with a disc in my back, I had turned badly in the morning, If the weather had turned out cold, that would not have been good. So I said to myself, ‘okay, you're warmed up, put everything into the fourth attempt', and I did.”

The toss carried to 69.11m and no one in the competition, including Poland’s eventual silver medallist and 2013 world leader Piotr Malachowski, could match it.

Malachowski tried, but his best effort, on his fifth throw, reached just 68.36m.

Malachowski menace

A loss to Malachowski in early June at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in the Dutch town of Hengelo had ended Harting's winning streak of more than 30 meetings, which dated back to 2010.

Malachowski threw 71.84m at that meeting, the seventh-best throw ever, with Harting more than a metre behind.

That was more than enough of a wake-up call, said the German. ”But it was also a relief, the pressure was off. I could go back to doing things like working on my technique, not just concentrating on winning regardless of my form.”

Time and time again athletes have said it is difficult to become inspired after the mental and physical drain of an Olympic victory, and Harting said he totally agreed.

The Discus title was the ninth in 14 World Championships by a German, including a win for the man who is still the World record-holder, Jurgen Schult of the former East Germany in 1987.

However, Harting insisted: "We don't know more than other countries. It is more about two or three people (who have the knowledge).”

Lars Riedel won five of those titles, four consecutively between 1991 and 1997, and a fifth in 2001.

Harting said he would do his best to chase the streak but noted it would be difficult, if not impossible, in today's era.

Even more improbable would be taking down Schult's 1986 World record of 74.08m.

"Actually not," he said. "We need the conditions like Hengelo this year, 10,000 people, very strong winds...we had everything... but not everybody was in shape." 

Gene Cherry for IAAF