Piotr Malachowski at the 2013 Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo (© Gladys Chai von der Laage)
Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski gave himself a slightly belated but very nice birthday present, a day after turning 30, at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games when he threw a world-leading 71.84m in the Dutch town of Hengelo on Saturday (8).
Not only was it a national record but his effort at the IAAF World Challenge meeting moved him up to fifth place on the all-time list and was the seventh best ever winning performance.
“Of course it’s a surprise, but in training I was already close to 70 metres. I have been hunting for this throw for three years now, and we had perfect conditions today," said Malachowski
“Yesterday, there was no beer for me, but today? Maybe, yes!”
In the first round, Germany’s Robert Harting left no doubts about his current form as he opened with a big throw of 69.36m while Malachowski also started well with 65.53m, a distance no other thrower reached.
The Pole improved to 67.73m in the fourth round and then unleashed his massive effort one round later. Going immediately into the the circle, Harting showed his competitive mettle by hurling the Discus to 69.91m, but it was not quite enough to overtake his rival and both men fouled their final attempts.
“It’s not a shame to lose when the winner throws over 70 metres and, in a way it’s also good that there’s an end. On the other hand, in this conditions I should have done better,” reflected Harting, who suffered his first defeat since 2010 and his winning streak of 35 competitions came to an end.
Silva steadies her nerves
Another surprise came in the Pole Vault when Cuba’s Yarisley Silva went over a 2013 outdoor world-lead and Central America and Caribbean record of 4.90m.
Only two women – Russia’s World record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva and the USA’s Jenn Suhr – have ever gone higher.
Silva, the London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist, struggled to get going in the early part of the competition and she also had to fight with the wind.
She had problems at 4.05m with two failures but then passed her last attempt at that unusually low height for her and then sailed over 4.40m with her remaining attempt.
Her nerves then seemed to calm and she went over 4.60m, 4.70m, 4.80m and 4.90m all at the first time before failing at 5.00m.
Russia’s former World champion and former World record-holder Svetlana Feofanova was a distant second with 4.60m
The Netherlands’ European 200m champion Churandy Martina was the focal point for many in the home crowd and he didn’t disappoint, winning the 200m in 20.23, with the maximum legal wind of 2.0m/s on his back. Great Britain’s James Ellington came second in a personal best of 20.42m
“I know I will have to run faster at the World Championships,” said Martina. “But I’m not afraid. I have been injured, but I know what I will have to do, because I’m an experienced runner.”
In the women’s 200m, Ukraine’s Mariya Ryemyen was the winner in 22.70, just holding off the US sprinter Tiffany Townsend, who was second in 22.74.
France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, just 21, had another another impressive race over 800m just two days after his personal best and European-leading time of 1:43.91.
US pacemaker Matthew Scherer brought him to halfway in 49.89 and despite looking like he was tiring in the final 100 metres, the Frenchman still had enough energy left to win in 1:44.89, in front of South Africa’s fast-finishing Andre Olivier.
Abeba Aregawi showed the public in Hengelo that she can turn her hand, and feet, to distances other than 1500m as she won the 800m in a Swedish record of 1:59.20.
“I love both distances but, for Moscow, I will definitely choose the 1500m,” she said. Belarus’ Marina Arzamasava came second in 2:00.58.
Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat produced a strong finish to take the plaudits in the 1500m. He was in the middle of the pack all the way until the last bend, but then broke away from the rest of the field to win in 3:35.69. Austrai’s Andreas Vojta was second in 3:36.36 and Ethiopia’s Mekonnen Gebremedhin third in 3:36.85.
Bekele blows up
Kenenisa Bekele couldn’t keep up with the pace over 5000m when the pace dropped from 64 to 62 seconds and three laps from the finish he left the track on which he ran his World record of 12:37.35 in 2004.
The eventual winner was Bekele’s fellow Ethiopian, Muktar Edris, in 13:04.65. He beat Kenya’s Augustine Choge in a sprint over the final 100 metres and the latter finished second in 13:05.31.
In the women’s race over the same distance, Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana ran a personal best of 14:52.42 with her compatriot and 2012 World junior champion Buze Diriba second in 14:52.89.
Zimbabwe’s Ngonidzashe Makusha won the Long Jump with 8.20m, but he was aided by a strong 5.3m/s wind. Germany’s 2010 European champion Christian Reif finished second with a wind-legal 8.08m.
US shot putter Reese Hoffa took the lead in his event with 20.82m in the third round and consolidated his victory with 20.95m with the very last throw of the competition and a win already assured.
There were two good results in the men’s Hurdles. Barbados’ 2009 World 110m Hurdles champion Ryan Brathwaite took his specialist event in 13.21 while the USA’s Justin Gaymon won the 400m Hurdles in 48.87.
Cors van den Brink for the IAAF