Our look back at the 2011 season continues with a review of the second edition of the IAAF World Hammer Throw Challenge.
Krisztián Pars of Hungary and Germany’s Betty Heidler survived a season-long battle to win the second edition of the IAAF World Hammer Throw Challenge.
Pars, the silver medallist at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, spun to victory in three of the series’ competitions to claim the title over Dilshod Nazarov by less than four metres. Nazarov took runner-up honours for the second consecutive year, propelled by his victory in the series capping competition in Zagreb.
Heidler, the World record holder, also collected three victories in the series to successfully defend her Challenge title. The World championships silver medallist produced a comfortable margin of more than seven metres over Yipsi Moreno of Cuba who notched an early series victory in Rio de Janeiro.
Beginning in early May at the World Challenge meeting in Kawasaki, Japan, and ending in the Croatian capital Zagreb in September, the second season of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge consisted of nine meetings with seven scoring opportunities for men and six for women. In order to be ranked in the final overall standings, an athlete had to have participated in at least three events with only their best three results scoring for the ranking - scoring corresponded to the distance thrown - with the highest three scores deciding the overall men’s and women’s winners.
The 28-year-old Heidler opened her spring campaign at home in Halle on 21 May with a dazzling 79.42m World record, indicating that reaching the event’s 80-metre barrier was now just a matter of time. Exactly one week later Heidler took that momentum onto the Hammer Throw Challenge tour where in a span of less than 48 hours, collected back-to-back victories in Dakar and Ostrava. Her 77.22m winning effort in the latter was the farthest throw on the Challenge circuit and the fifth farthest of the season – Heidler produced the season’s top-four throws as well. She then followed up with another Challenge victory in Zhukovskiy reaching 75.54m. In an otherwise dominating campaign, the German’s only defeat in her spring and summer season came at the World Championships in Daegu where she finished second to Russia’s Tatyana Lysenko.
Cuban veteran Moreno, a two-time World champion, produced another solid campaign, bagging a series victory in Rio de Janeiro in May, and producing runner-up performances in Zhukovskiy and Rieti. Her 220.46m combined score – a 74.26m effort in Rio was her best in the Challenge – was enough to edge another German, Kathrin Klaas, who notched a 219.77m score. The 27-year-old’s best throw in the Challenge, 75.48m for second in Ostrava, was also her season’s best.
Pars, one of the most consistent throwers of his generation, cobbled together the finest season of his career which in many ways – minus the World record, of course – mirrored that of Heidler.
After six wins in as many starts in the early season, the 29-year-old kicked off his Challenge campaign with a victory in Kawasaki, where he reached 79.47m. He also took wins in Zukhovskiy and Rieti, throwing 79.70m and 78.77m respectively, with an 81.12m toss in the Rieti qualifying round. He was second at Ostrava's Golden Spike in late May, throwing 79.29m, and concluded the series with a solid third place showing in the fiercely competitive Zagreb meeting, throwing 79.86m. Like Heidler, Pars arrived at the World Championship as a favourite and left with a silver medal.
His consistency resulted in a 239.03m score, well ahead of Nazarov whose strong late season included a 77.51m second place showing in Rieti and an 80.30m victory and career best in Zagreb.
Despite a rocky start, reigning Olympic champion Primož Kozmus ended his comeback season from retirement on a high. The 32-year-old didn't despair after his modest Challenge opening in Ostrava, where he threw just 72.42m and finished last. Gradually working and competing himself into shape, Kozmus took a somewhat surprising bronze at the World Championships, followed up with a fourth place finish in Rieti, before capping his season with an 80.28m season's best in Zagreb for second.
In addition to the US$7500 (for both men and women) in prize money provided at each individual meeting, an additional US$202,000 ($101,000 for Men and Women) was awarded to the top-12 finishers: 1st place: $30,000 - 2nd place: $20,000 - 3rd place: $14,000 - 4th place: $9000 - 5th place: $7000 - 6th place: $6000 - 7th place: $4500 - 8th place: $4000 - 9th place: $3000 - 10th place: $2000 - 11th place: $1000 - 12th place: $500.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
1. Krisztian Pars, HUN 239.03 points
2. Dilshod Nazarov, TJK 235.72 points
3. Primoz Kozmus, SLO 233.9 points
4. Sergej Litvinov, RUS 232.56 points
5. Nicola Vizzoni, ITA 232.44 points
6. Marcus Esser, GER 231.92 points
7. Aleksey Zagornyi, RUS 229.59 points
8. Kibwe Johnson, USA 229.44 points
9. Pawel Fajdek, POL 226.98 points
10. Igors Sokolovs, LAT 223.96 points
1. Betty Heidler, GER 228.09 points
2. Yipsi Moreno, CUB 220.46 points
3. Kathrin Klaas, GER 219.77 points
4. Tatyana Lysenko, RUS 218.51 points
5. Zalina Marghieva, MDA 214.58 points
6. Marina Marghieva, MDA 204.75 points
7. Martina Hrasnova, SVK 203.53 points
8. Amber Campbell, USA 201.75 points
9. Gulfiya Khanafeyeva, RUS 191.54 points
10. Wenxiu Zhang, CHN 147.44 points