Betty Heidler on her way to winning the hammer in Ostrava (© Pavel Lebeda / sport-pics.cz)
Betty Heidler and Krisztian Pars produced world-leading efforts at Ostrava’s Golden Spike, part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, with the men’s and women’s hammer competitions traditionally held the day before the main meeting programme in this eastern Czech city.
Heidler, the world and meeting record-holder, reached 78.00m to dominate the women’s competition while Pars, the reigning Olympic champion, threw 81.57m to win by nearly a metre.
Opening with a modest 72.80m effort, Heidler took command with a 75.97m throw in round two, a lead that proved short-lived courtesy of long-time rival Anita Wlodarczyk.
Making her season’s debut – aside from an exhibition event in Wroclaw – the Pole spun out the cobwebs with a 74.73m throw in the second round, and improved to 76.16m in the third. Putting the pressure on Heidler, Wlodarczyk, the 2009 world champion, padded her lead with a 76.41m toss in round four.
Heidler fell short in the fourth round but nailed her mark in the fifth, reaching 78.00m even to wrestle back the lead from Wlodarczyk – and to supplant China’s Wang Zheng (77.68m) as this season’s world leader.
Heidler’s mark was just seven centimetres shy of the meeting record she set in 2012. It was also the third-farthest throw ever by the 30-year-old German, who has held the world record of 79.42m since 21 May 2011. It’s rarely-trodden territory, too. Besides Heidler (twice), only three other women have thrown beyond the 78-metre line.
Wlodarczyk had nothing left in reserve. Fouling in round five, she ended the competition with a throw shy of 71 metres, handing Heidler her fifth win of the season.
“I tried to do things right and to show good technique,” said Heidler. “It worked very well, I am happy for it. Today I just wanted to beat Anita Wlodarczyk, it did not matter how far I threw.”
German Kathrin Klaas rounded out the podium with a 74.61m best effort from the first round, just ahead of Slovak Martina Hrasnova who reached 74.39m in round three. Both were season’s bests; for Hrasnova it was her best throw since 2009.
Poland’s Joanna Fiodorow was a distant sixth with 71.80m.
In the men’s competition, Pars led from start, opening with a 78.19m toss before putting the competition out of reach with his 81.57m effort in round two to add 26cm to his own world lead.
The Hungarian threw just twice more – 78.47m in the third round and fouling in the fifth – before passing his final effort to win in Ostrava for the third straight year, and fourth occasion overall.
“I am very satisfied with my result,” said Pars. “I aimed to throw only around 80 metres because I am still fighting a small injury.”
Behind him, reigning Asian Games champion Dilshod Nazarov impressed as well, hitting 80.62m in the fifth round to tighten the competition, a season’s best and the second-best throw ever for the 32-year-old from Tadjikistan.
World champion Pawel Fajdek of Poland had just one fair throw, but his 79.65m effort, also a season’s best, was enough to land him in the top three.
Further back, Marcel Lomnicky of Slovakia was fourth with a 77.91m best. Frenchman Quentin Bigot reached 77.76 to finish sixth. Mostafa Al-Gamel, competing for the first time this year outside of his home country Egypt, finished seventh with 75.66m, almost six metres shy of the African record her set earlier this year.
Bob Ramsak (organisers) for the IAAF