It was the story of the old man coming back and beating the reigning Olympic Champion plus the gold medal winner of the Berlin World Championships. At the age of 37 Virgilijus Alekna took a surprise win at the IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final, claiming the $30,000 first prize. The former double Olympic champion produced a 67.63 m throw to deny Germany’s Robert Harting another famous victory. The World champion from Berlin had to be content with second (66.37).
Hungary’s Zoltan Kövago had taken the lead in the first round with 65.60m which remained his best of the evening and was good enough for fourth place. The second of the four rounds turned out to be the decisive one. First it was Harting who took the lead with 66.37, but then the next one entering the ring was Alekna. He produced his winning throw of 67.63m and with that caused quite an upset. Harting then produced two fouls at his next two attempts while Alekna’s third round throw of 66.90m would have been good enough for victory as well.
Berlin’s silver medallist Piotr Malachowski (Poland) was third with 65.60 (he had the better second best compared with Kövago: 65.55 to 64.58) while Olympic champion Gerd Kanter took fifth (65.34).
“This is a good result in a good competition. I am very happy with the win,” said Virgilijus Alekna. “Next year I will try to win at the European Championships in Barcelona.”
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF