Report20 Aug 2023

Katzberg ends Fajdek’s reign as world hammer champion in Budapest


Ethan Katzberg in the hammer at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 (© Getty Images)

Ethan Katzberg may be a relatively new name in the hammer throwing world, but, looking back, all the signs were there that the Canadian would be a medal contender at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.

The 21-year-old had finished in the top three in all of his competitions this year and had improved his personal best three times, most recently in his final competition before heading to Budapest, throwing 78.73m to win the Canadian title.

He smashed that PB with his first and only throw in the qualifying round, sending his hammer out to a national record of 81.18m.

But the slate was wiped clean for the final, and he was up against some of the giants of the event, including five-time world champion Pawel Fajdek, Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki and home favourite Bence Halasz.

Fajdek opened with a solid 80.00, but was soon overtaken by Halasz, who threw 80.82m – much to the delight of the home crowd.

Katzberg also joined them beyond the 80-metre line in round one, opening with 80.18m to move into second place.

Nowicki was next to breach that barrier, throwing 80.70m in round two to move into second place.

Fajdek and Halasz didn’t improve upon their opening throws for the duration of the competition. Halasz’s third-round effort was initially measured at 81.02m, but a video replay showed that his toe had dipped outside of the sector.

Nowicki briefly took the lead with an 81.02m effort in round five, but just moments later it was bettered by Katzberg, who set a Canadian record of 81.25m.

No one improved in the final round, but Katzberg consolidated his lead with 81.11m and Nowicki ended with 80.36m.

“To throw a PB and become a world champion, that is absolutely a great feeling,” said Katzberg after becoming not only the youngest ever men’s hammer champion at the World Championships, but the youngest ever medallist in the event. “It hasn’t hit me yet.”

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics


🥇 Ethan Katzberg 🇨🇦 CAN 81.25m NR
🥈 Wojciech Nowicki 🇵🇱 POL 81.02m
🥉 Bence Halasz 🇭🇺 HUN 80.82m SB
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