Pawel Fajdek at the 2014 Rieti IAAF World Challenge meeting (© organisers)
Poland’s world champion Pawel Fajdek got the 44th edition of the Rieti IAAF World Challenge meeting off on a high note with an outstanding victory in the final men’s contest in this year’s IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge with a winning throw of 81.11m on Saturday (6).
This year’s African champion Mostafa El Gamel from Egypt took an early lead with 77.71m with his first attempt but the competition came to life in the second round when Fajdek was the first to throw over 80 metres with 81.11m, which was to stand up as the winner, while Olympic and European champion Krisztian Pars came close to the 80-metre barrier with 79.82m.
Pars got beyond the 80-metre line with 80.03m in the third round and put Fajdek’s leading position under threat when he improved further to 80.78m with his fourth attempt.
The Hungarian also produced efforts of 80.70m and 80.04m with his last two throws but it was not enough to overtake Fajdek as the Pole fouled his final three attempts although, with the competition won, his last effort and the very last throw of the competition attempt was beyond 82 metres.
Al Gamel improved in both the fifth and sixth rounds, with 77.92m and 78.50m respectively, to finish third.
Despite the defeat in the Raul Guidobaldi Stadium, Pars clinched the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge for the third time in four years and, subject to official confirmation, will shortly be receiving the first-prize cheque for US $30,000.
The total from his best three competitions in the challenge – in which metres are converted directly to points – was 244.84 points, the best tally in the five years of the challenge.
Last year’s winner Fajdek was more than three metres in arrears, with 241.49 points, but his win in Rieti was crucial in moving him up to second place in the 2014 standings.
Dilshod Nazarov from Tajikistan was third with 241.37 points and Al Gamel fourth with 234.80 points.
“The competition was good," said Fajdek. "It was my fourth time in Rieti but it was my first win here. I feel it was important to win over Pars one week before the Continental Cup in Marrakesh.
“I set a national record and I finished second at the European Championships, so it was a good year for me but, because of an injury I did not train enough," he added. "I will now go back to Poland to prepare for an 82 or 83-metre throw in Marrakesh."
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF