The last two IAAF challenge series of the year will commence in one week’s time when Kingston hosts the Jamaica International Invitational, the first meeting in the 2018 IAAF World Challenge and IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge.
Spanning the globe from Kingston to Zagreb
Kingston is the first of nine IAAF World Challenge meetings to be held in as many countries over the course of the late spring and summer. The series traverses the globe with stops in Osaka, Hengelo, Turku, Ostrava, Madrid, Braganca Paulista and Berlin before concluding in Zagreb in September.
In 2017, World Challenge meetings played key roles in the lead-in to the IAAF World Championships with several athletes displaying the form that would propel them to the podium in London.
Kingston marked the start of a winning streak for Sam Kendricks that carried the US vaulter to the world title. Wayde van Niekerk broke the world 300m best in Ostrava, while sprint rival Isaac Makwala achieved a historic same-day sub-20 and sub-44 200m/400m double in Madrid. Later in the year, Caster Semenya clocked a world 600m best in Berlin and Sandra Perkovic delighted the home crowd in Zagreb with a clear discus victory.
With no major global championships this summer, performances on the international circuit are expected to take on even more significance than usual.
Wlodarczyk and Fajdek targetting fifth challenge victories
The 2018 IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge will consist of nine competitions in eight countries.
After its start in Kingston, it will pass through Osaka, Turku, Szczecin, Ostrava, Madrid, Samorin, Szekesfehervar before concluding at the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Chorzow.
In 2017, the Polish duo of Anita Wlodarczyk and Pawel Fajdek topped the challenge standings for the fourth time, and both are expected to be the leading contenders again this year.
By the end of 2017, three-time world champion and world record-holder Wlodarczyk had extended her winning streak to 42 competitions. The 31-year-old’s last defeat was on 16 June 2014 when she was second in Ostrava.
Points in the challenge are calculated by combining the distance of the best three throws in the series, with one point per metre. Last year Fajdek amassed a record score of 248.48 to retain his title in the men's standings.
There will be a minimum of US$8500 in prize money per hammer competition at each Hammer Throw Challenge meeting. The top 12 finishers at the end of the series will receive prize money with the overall winner being awarded $30,000.