For the second consecutive year the Karlstad Grand Prix meeting at the Tingvalla stadium is hosting one of the stops on the 2014 IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, with Tadjikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov heading the field for the men’s event on Wednesday (16).
Nazarov, the current number two, has demonstrated exceptional consistency having finished 4-1-2-2-3 in the past five challenge competitions with performances between 77.93m and 80.62m.
His current challenge score is 240.06 – metres being converted into points – and he needs to exceed 79.20m to improve it further and close in on current leader Krisztian Pars, from Hungary, who is passing this meeting.
However, Nazarov will still need to throw well to notch up another win as he is facing current number four in the challenge, Slovakia’s Marcel Lomnicky, who actually finished in front of Nazarov at the Szczecin meeting in Poland a month ago.
Other contenders will be Poland’s super-experienced former Olympic and world champion Szymon Ziolkowski and Russia’s Sergey Litvinov.
The latter won the event at the European Team Championships in Germany last month and, as he has only have two scoring meets so far, should move up considerably in the overall standings (which are based oneach athlete's three best meetings) with a solid performance now in Karlstad.
Poised to move into the crucial top 12 – the places which will receive prize money at the end of year – with just two more meetings remaining are two Nordic throwers, Finland’s David Söderberg and local hope Markus Johansson, the latter competing for the meeting’s organising club IF Göta Karlstad. Both men have surpassed 76 metres previously this summer.
There will also be a special treat for the hammer throwers – and hammer fans – in Karlstad: for the fourth year in a row there will be an exhibition competition in the middle of the city of Karlstad the evening before (Tuesday).
Athletes will be throwing from a ring at one bank of the river Klarälven and, hopefully, over the river reaching the bank on the other side.
This spectacular event has been successful in bringing the hammer throw to a wider audience. Every year there have been large crowds in Karlstad hugely impressed by the skills of the hammer throwers.
At the actual athletics meeting in the Tingvalla Stadium on Wednesday it is not just the hammer that will provide world class action.
In the men’s javelin, Czech Republic’s reigning world champion Vitezslav Vesely will be up against Japan’s Ryohei Arai and top Swedish thrower Kim Amb. The men’s long jump will feature Germany’s current European champion Sebastian Bayer versus Sweden’s world indoor bronze medallist Michel Torneus.
Among the women’s events the 100m and 200m will be of great interest for the crowd as world youth champion Irene Ekelund – a Karlstad resident – will make her last competition before boarding the plane bound for the 2014 World Junior Championships in Eugene, USA.
Also in action just four days after demolishing the Swedish 3000m steeplechase record, improving it by more than ten seconds when finishing fourth at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Glasgow with 9:23.96, Charlotta Fougberg will be looking for a personal best in the 1500m.
A Lennart Julin for the IAAF