Koji Murofushi throwing in Zagreb and winning the overall IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge title (Zagreb meeting organisers) © Copyright
General News

2010 World Hammer Throw Challenge review – Murofushi and Heidler prevail

Former Olympic champion Koji Murofushi of Japan and Germany’s Betty Heidler, the reigning World Championships silver medallist, survived a season-long battle to win the inaugural IAAF World Hammer Throw Challenge.

Consisting of 11 meetings, the Challenge began at the World Challenge meeting in Dakar, Senegal on 24 April and concluded at the World Challenge meeting in Zagreb. Providing an element of drama to the end, athletes’ three best performances where tallied to determine the overall winner. Murofushi’s late-season surge gave him the title and the US$ 30,000 top prize over Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov while Heidler prevailed by less than half a metre over Poland’s World record holder and reigning World champion Anita Wlodarczyk .

It was Wlodarczyk who set the tone from the outset, reaching 75.13m to take a big victory in Dakar. Marina Marghiev of Moldova and Russian Tatyana Lysenko rounded out the top three, reaching 72.14m and 70.03m respectively.

Meanwhile, the men’s battle commenced in Osaka on 8 May, where Nazarov prevailed with a 78.84m throw, ahead of Yury Shayunou of Belarus (77.95m) and Murofushi, who threw 77.86. Murofushi wouldn’t be seen again on the tour until late August, but his absence would hardly rule him out.

The next stop for the women’s tour was in Daegu on 19 May where Heidler notched her first Challenge victory with a 75.28m throw, ahead of Lysenko (72.36m) and German Kathrin Klaas. Here Wlodarczyk was a distant fourth with a 71.86m best.

The Challenge then crossed the Pacific and landed in Rio on 23 May where Nazarov again took top honours, throwing 77.38m. In the women’s competition Darya Pchelnik of Belarus scored her first victory with a 73.01m effort.

Two days later, the Challenge continued in Ostrava (26 May), traditionally a favourite throwing ground for hammer throwing specialists. Here Wlodarczyk was triumphant again, reaching 75.74m in a close competition over Heidler (75.25m) with Pchelnik third (73.00m). Hungary’s Krisztián Pars took the men’s victory with a 79.15m effort, ahead of Nazarov. The men’s series continued in Hengelo on 30 May where Germany’s Sergey Litvinov, third in Ostrava, reached 78.98m to beat both Nazarov and Pars.

Twenty days after Wlodarczyk broke her own World record with a 78.30m throw in Bydgoszcz, The next stop for the women was Zhukovskiy, Russia, on 26 June where Lysenko prevailed with a 76.03m blast, an effort which would hold up as the third farthest of the season. Cuba’s Yipsi Moreno was second at 75.19m, a throw which would ultimately be her farthest in 2010. The men’s series continued in Madrid on 7 July where Nazarov’s again prevailed with a 78.49m best, just nine centimetres ahead of Slovak Libor Charfreitag.

After a lengthy break, the women’s battle reconvened in Berlin on 21 August, where Heidler, fresh off of her triumph at the European Championships, took the victory with a 75.35m throw over Wlodarczyk, who reached 74.43m.

The women’s series was capped in Rieti on 28 and 29 August where Lysenko took the win in 74.80m over Moreno’s 73.78m, but not enough to overtake Heidler for the overall crown. Meanwhile, Murofushi marked a brilliant return to the circuit with an 80.99m world-leading effort, beating Charfreitag and proving that the men’s winner wouldn’t be decided until the final meeting in Zagreb on 1 September. Here again it was Murofushi who took the victory, reaching 79.71m beating Charfreitag by nearly two metres. Competing sparingly, Murofushi clearly illustrated his ability to make each of his outings count.

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

Final Standings -
Men:

1. Koji Murofushi, JPN  238.52
2. Dilshod Nazarov, TJK  236.02
3. Libor Charfreitag, SVK  235.26
4. Krisztián Pars, HUN  234.52
5. Sergej Litvinov, GER  233.62
6. Igors Sokolovs, LAT  228.47
7. Yury Shayunou, BLR  227.79
8. Nicola Vizzoni, ITA  226.95
9. Olli-Pekka Karjalainen, FIN  226.63
10. Szymon Ziólkowski, POL  226.01

Women

1. Betty Heidler, GER  225.88
2. Anita Wlodarczyk, POL  225.3
3. Tatyana Lysenko, RUS  223.96
4. Yipsi Moreno, CUB  219.19
5. Darya Pchelnik, BLR  218.18
6. Kathrin Klaas, GER  216.1
7. Jennifer Dahlgren, ARG  210.75
8. Stéphanie Falzon, FRA  210.73
9. Zalina Marghieva, MDA  210.11
10. Amber Campbell, USA  208.35