Pawel Fajdek of Poland may not be able to win Olympic medals in the hammer but he can’t stop winning world titles.
The 30-year-old from Swiebodzice became the first man to collect four world golds in this discipline tonight with a best effort of 80.50m in the fourth round.
France’s Quentin Bigot took silver with 78.19m ahead of Hungary’s Bence Halasz, who had a best of 78.18m.
Fajdek, who began the season with injury problems, started as he meant to continue on day six at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, establishing a first-round lead of 79.34m that would have been sufficient to win on its own.
Wojciech Nowicki, who beat his fellow Pole to the European title last summer, finished fourth overall with a best of 77.69m.
However, the Polish team then lodged a protest, claiming Halasz had touched the ground outside the circle on his first attempt. The jury of appeal concluded that irregularities in the conduct of the competition disadvantaged Nowicki and, in fairness to both athletes, decided to award bronze medals to both Nowicki and Halasz.
“It was a very difficult season with a very good end,” Fajdek said. “I had to go from zero to 100 per cent in just one year, coming back from injury. I basically had only seven months for the preparation.
“I had some back problem, knee problems, but that is our job to deal with it. It is normal. Now, taking the fourth world championship title – it is very emotional for me and I feel very proud tonight. Next – hard work in the following two years until the Eugene World Championships…”
Bigot, meanwhile, was colourful on the subject of how it felt to make his breakthrough at a major championship: “When you get your first medal, you want to get more of it – like a vampire wants more and more blood.”
Fajdek’s mighty feat has been consecutive. The first of his golds came in Moscow six years ago, as he beat Olympic champion Krisztian Pars of Hungary to gold with an effort of 81.97m. Fajdek, calamitously, had failed to record a mark in London.
Two years later in Beijng he retained his title with an effort of 80.88m, two metres clear of his nearest rival.
Cut to the following year’s Rio Olympics, where the good news was that he recorded a mark in Olympic competition but the bad news was that it wasn’t sufficient to get him into the final.
And skip to London in 2017, where he retained his world title with an effort of 79.81m ahead of authorised neutral athlete Valeriy Pronkin, who recorded 78.16m, and his fellow Pole Nowicki, who took bronze with 78.03m.
History was on Fajdek’s side in Doha – and he embraced it.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF