German javelin thrower Johannes Vetter (© Getty Images)
Johannes Vetter notched up a fourth consecutive javelin victory beyond 90 metres, winning at the Anhalt Meeting – part of the World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze series – in Dessau on Friday (21).
Showing no signs of tiredness from his world-leading 94.20m effort in Ostrava two days prior, the 2017 world champion opened with a solid 87.67m before sending his spear beyond the 90-metre line in round two with 91.86m.
That mark added exactly one metre the meeting record that had stood to Sergey Makarov for 19 years. But Vetter wasn’t finished, and he threw 93.20m in the next round to consolidate his lead. After an 88.09 effort in round four, he retired from the competition, more than satisfied with his performance.
World and Olympic finalist Julian Weber was second with a season’s best of 84.51m while Moldova’s Andrain Mardare was third with 82.99m.
“I actually didn’t expect to throw this far again today – 93.20m is quite something, especially since my last competition was just 48 hours ago. So yes, I’m really happy with the result,” said Vetter, who has already thrown 90 metres seven times this year, equalling his best single-season tally. “It was a pretty solid series overall, but as a precaution I decided to pass on the last two attempts. Not necessarily to preserve energy, I think I’ve shown that I’ve got enough of that at the moment with that 93-metre throw, but I didn’t want to take any risk. You do feel it, that competition in Ostrava just two days ago. This year the Olympics is the big goal, that’s the main motivation until then, but I am really pleased with how well things are going.
“Of course, gold at the Olympics is the big goal. I don’t think we had expected for things to be going as well as they are at the moment, some may call it early form, for us it’s more manifestation to help us determine at which level I’m at, but I know there’s still more in the tank. The main thing now is to stay healthy, not to rush things, to not take all six throws when you feel your body is starting to tire and continue to concentrate on what really matters.”
Only Zelezny has managed to produce more 90-metre throws than Vetter in a single season. The Czech legend, who holds the world record at 98.48m, managed 14 90-metre throws in 1995. He also achieved five consecutive 90-metre competitions that season; Vetter is currently at four such competitions.
“To be able to throw as consistently as I am at the moment, I don’t think anyone has been able to do that since Jan Zelezny and that makes me incredibly proud and happy,” said Vetter. “But it’s still a long way to go to Tokyo.”
World champions Malaika Mihambo and Sam Kendricks were comfortable winners of their respective events.
Kendricks won the men’s pole vault with 5.80m and went on to have three solid attempts at a would-be meeting record of 5.91m. Mihambo, meanwhile, leaped 6.68m (1.1m/s) to win the long jump by 17 centimetres.
Ukraine’s Iryna Herashchenko emerged as the surprising winner of the high jump, winning on countback from world silver medallist Yaroslava Mahuchikh as both women cleared 1.92m. World champion Mariya Lasitskene finished equal seventh with a best clearance of 1.80m.
Elsewhere, Belgium’s Cynthia Bolingo set a meeting record of 51.75 to win the women’s 400m, and Poland’s Pia Skryszowska held off a strong challenge from Elvira Herman to win the 100m hurdles by 0.02 in 12.92. Benjamin Robert won the men’s 800m in 1:45.79.
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics