Pawel Fajdek on his way to winning the hammer (© Organisers / sport-pics.cz)
Poland’s world hammer champion Pawel Fajdek won his 10th consecutive competition this summer with a world-leading throw of 83.12m at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial, an IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge meeting, in the Hungarian town of Szekesfehervar on Tuesday (7).
It was the second-best competition of Fajdek’s career and his hammer fell just short of his national record of 83.48m set last summer in Warsaw.
His best throw came in the final round, with the competition alreday won, but he had four more throws over 80 metres, including a 81.99m effort in round five.
His regular rival, Olympic and European champion Krisztian Pars, once again had no answer to the power and technique of the Pole. The local star still finished almost four metres adrift on home soil in second place with 79.23m.
Fajdek has now won their past five encounters. Despite the defeat in Moscow, Pars has dominated most of their contests since they first met in 2009. With Tuesday's win, Fajdek has now closed their career head-to-head record to 13-28.
Anita Wlodarcyzk made it a Polish double hammer triumph as she won the women’s event with 75.48m.
The world record-holder wasn’t quite in as stunning form as her two most recent competitions, having thrown 79.83m at an exhibition event in Wroclaw and 78.28m to win the European Team Championships in Cheboksary. But she was still a comfortable winner over the woman she succeeded as world record-holder, Germany’s Betty Heidler.
Just like in Cheboksary, Heidler had to settle second but this time with 73.91m.
Barshim back on form
The high jump in Szekesfehervar also kept the crowds enthralled with six men over 2.30m or better.
Mutaz Essa Barshim had a return to form after some below-par performances since his world-leading 2.41m at the end of May. He went clear at 2.36m, a last gasp effort after two failures at 2.34m, to beat 2007 world champion Donald Thomas.
Thomas also had a moment of renaissance and cleared 2.34m with his second attempt, one centimetre below his PB and his best jump since his halcyon summer eight years ago.
Russia’s Aleskey Dmitrik and Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko both cleared 2.32m and were third and fourth respectively.
Thomas's Bahamian compatriot Steven Gardiner, still only 19, confirmed that his recent 400m national record of 44.27, set in Nassau just over a week ago, was far from a solitary flash of lightning and won over one lap of the track in 44.30.
World champion LaShawn Merritt could do little to contain the prodigious teenager and came home second in 44.43.
After winning at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday, Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski continued his fine run of form by throwing 65.17m for the win.
Another good win in the throws was acquired by Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, who won the javelin with 82.76m.
Birech almost unbeatable over the barriers
There were slightly predictable Kenyan victories in the 1500m and 3000m steeplechase from Ronald Kwemoi and Jairus Birech. Kwemoi defeated his compatriot and Paris winner Silas Kiplagat, winning in 3:37.76 to the 2014 Diamond Race winner’s 3:38.61.
Birech notched up his fifth win in six outings over the barriers this summer, his only defeat coming in Eugene, and won comfortably in 8:16.92. It was a far cry from his world-leading 7:58.83 in Paris on Saturday but he didn’t need to run any faster and won by more than three seconds from his fellow Kenyan Nicholas Bett.
There was a Kenyan win in the women’s 1500m as well, with Nancy Chepkemoi taking the honours in 4:04.41.
However, it can be debated between the fans of Veronica Campbell-Brown and Lolo Jones over what was the top women’s performance on the track.
Campbell-Brown won the 100m in 10.99 and into a -1.2m/s breeze while Jones looked something like her old self when she won in the 100m hurdles in a season’s best of 12.69, just edging out Queen Harrison who was second in 12.72.
Georganne Moline took the 400m hurdles in 54.60, getting a good win over the rapidly-improving Cassandra Tate who was second in 55.06.
Outside of the hammer, the top women’s field event performance came in the women’s shot which saw Trinidad’s 35-year-old Cleopatra Borel send her implement out to 19.26m in the last round, her best distance for five years minus one day.
Borel caused an upset by defeating in-form US champion Michelle Carter, who could only reach 19.20m for second place.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF