Robert Harting and Betty Heidler showed fine form when winning their events at the traditional German Throwers Meeting in Halle on Saturday (24) while Christina Obergföll was also superior. Regarding strong German Olympic medal hopes in the throwing events only Franka Dietzsch was missing because of an illness.
23-year-old Harting was struggling in the first two round of the discus competition. The surprise silver medallist from Osaka, who had already thrown 66.82m a week ago, had started with a foul and then his discus came down at 58.98m in round two.
“I did not start well,” Harting said. But he then clearly improved to 66.50m in round three. That was still not quite enough to take the lead at that stage, because Poland’s Piotr Malachowski had thrown 66.65m in round two. This remained his best and he finally finished second. After another foul Harting produced a great throw of 67.63m and then finished the competition with 66.96m.
“I am happy with my winning mark and I am optimistic regarding the Olympics,” Harting told Leichtathletik journalist Peter Grau. “It is my aim to win a bronze medal in Beijing, where I expect Virgilijus Alekna and Gerd Kanter to be stronger because of their huge experience.”
Michael Möllenbeck took third place with 63.72m, missing the Beijing qualifying standard by 78 cm. He had achieved that a week ago for the first time but the German federation requires it to be thrown twice. Sergiu Ursu (Romania/63.00) and Gerhard Mayer (Austria/62.67) took fourth and fifth places.
While Dietzsch, who had often shown great form in Halle in recent years, was not among the competitors on Saturday, the reigning European champion Darya Pishchalnikova (Russia) took the women’s Discus Throw with 63.98m. Nicoleta Grasu (Romania/63.06m) and Joanna Wiesniewska (Poland/62.32m) were second and third.
World champion Betty Heidler produced four throws beyond the 70m mark when dominating the Hammer Throw. The 24-year-old German had opened her competition with a foul but then had attempts of 72.11m – 68.24m – 70.91m – 70.32m and finally 72.73m. It was not quite as far as she had hoped, but Heidler was still satisfied with her result. “It had been my aim to throw beyond 73 metres, but I was not far away from that,” she said.
Kamila Skolimowska (Poland/70.75m) was the only other thrower to break the 70m mark in Halle. Kathrin Klaas (Germany/69.85m), Eileen O’Keeffe (Ireland/69.54m), Silvia Salis (Italy/69.09m) and Cecilia Nilsson (Sweden/69.09m) took the next places.
Germany’s Markus Esser won the men’s Hammer Throw with 76.50m from Jens Rautenkranz (Germany/76.29m) while in the Javelin Throw Matthias de Zordo surprised with a winning throw of 82.51m. The German was ahead of Australia’s Jarrod Bannister (81.76m) and Poland’s Igor Janik (78.15).
European record holder Christina Obergföll (Germany) dominated the women’s Javelin Throw although she was not quite content with her winning mark of 63.86m.
“It was my goal to throw further, but I have not had enough competitions yet for that,” Obergföll said after producing a series of 60.76m – 63.86m – x – 61.28m – x – 58.43m. “But there is plenty of time before the Olympics to improve the technique.”
Monica Stoian (Romania) was second with 61.97m (her only throw beyond the 60m mark) while Germany’s Katharina Molitor was happy with her 61.74m for third. She has achieved the qualifying standard for Beijing for the first time and will have to do so again. Sunette Viljoen (South Africa/59.76m) and Urszula Jasinska (Poland/59.26m) took fourth and fifth places.
The Shot Put was won by Justin Anlezark (Australia) with 20.29m. Germany’s Ralf Bartels (20.07m) and Maris Urtans (Latvia/19.73m) were second and third. In the women’s event Christina Schwanitz won with 19.23m from Denise Hinrichs (both Germany/19.07m).
There was a World junior record* in a junior Discus Throw competition (1.75 kg discus). Ukraine’s Mykyta Nesterenko (born in 1991) threw 70.13m in his sixth attempt. Already in the second round he had thrown 68.48m, so he improved the former mark twice in Halle. Estonia’s Margus Hunt had thrown 67.32m at the World Junior Championships in Beijing in 2006. In Halle Brett Morse (GBR) was second with 60.46m.
* pending the usual ratification procedures
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF