18 JUN 2008 General News Celje, Slovenia

World leading 81.46m Hammer Throw for Kozmus in Celje

Another 80-metre throw for Primoz Kozmus in Velenje (Milenko Stanic/AZS (Slovenian Federation))Another 80-metre throw for Primoz Kozmus in Velenje (Milenko Stanic/AZS (Slovenian Federation)) © Copyright

Primoz Kozmus produced a world season leading 81.46m effort in the Hammer Throw to highlight the Celje Dukes International Meeting on Wednesday (18) in this northeastern Slovenian city.

The 28-year-old Kozmus, the silver medallist at last summer’s World Championships in Osaka, produced the most solid series of the young season, throwing beyond 81 metres three times.

“The series today was great,” said Kozmus, his competition included an 80.83m throw in the second round, 81.14m in the third, and 81.05m in the fourth before his world leader in the fifth. “I hope I can keep it up it in my next two meetings.” His mark supplanted Aleksey Zagornyi 81.39m throw from Sunday’s Znamenskiy Memorial in Zhukovskiy, Russia, as the season’s farthest.

Kozmus has begun the season on a busy tear, winning each of his five competitions, all in the span of the last 10 days. After opening the season with an 80.81m effort in Ljubljana on 8 June, Kozmus notched victories in Ostrava, Warsaw and Prague, throwing beyond the 80m mark in all but one.

“Physically my form is excellent right now,” he said, “but technically I still have some work to do.” Kozmus explained that the main problem he’ll have to focus on in his Beijing build-up is the last phase of his spin just prior to his release. And he’ll allow himself plenty of time.

After this weekend’s European Cup in Istanbul and next Thursday’s competition in Velenje, Slovenia, Kozmus will head to his regular training outpost in Bjelolasica, Croatia, to focus fully on his Beijing build-up. In between, the only competition on his schedule will be the national championships on 18-19 July. The mid-summer break-from-competition strategy paid off well for Kozmus last year prior to Osaka, where he led until Ivan Tikhon snatched the victory in the final round.

Behind him, Krisztian Pars produced a solid outing of his own. Opening with 78.55m throw, the Hungarian, who beat Kozmus in this meet last year, followed up with three 80m throws: an 80.34m in the second round, 80.12m in the fourth, and his best, 80.74m, in the sixth.

The meeting in Celje, Slovenia’s third largest city, is the fifth stop on the 12-meeting Slovenia International Grand Prix, and is held at the city Kladivar Stadium, which has in the past witnessed some of the finest moments in Slovenia’s athletics history.

Ratej improves to 63.44m in the Javelin

Earlier in the evening, Tina Ratej extended her own Slovenian national record in the Javelin Throw. Continuing her notable rise in the ranks, the 26-year-old threw 63.44m in the first round, adding 28 centimetres to the 63.16m mark set at the European Throwing Cup in Split, Croatia, in mid-March. Her throw solidified her No. 6 position on this year’s world list.

Elsewhere, Osaka 800m finalist Brigita Langerholc moved down in distance for some speed work and won the 600m handily in 1:26.60, a national record. The 31-year-old 2000 Olympian was well under the previous standard of 1:29.72 set by Jolanda Ceplak at this stadium in 1997.

Recovering from a sluggish start, Osaka 100m finalist Matic Osovnikar won the 100 with a modest 10.48.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF