The throwing events dominated the 55th edition of the Kusocinski Memorial which was held on Sunday (7) in a new venue the Orzel Warszawa (Warsaw Eagle) stadium. The meeting took place two weeks earlier than its usual spot in the calendar which typically has marked the anniversaries of 1932 Olympic 10,000m champion Janusz Kusocinski’s World 3000m record (19 June 1932) and his tragic execution in 1940 (21 June).
The Kusocinski Memorial, is part of a select group of Area meetings at which points can be acquired by athletes to qualify for the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final, to be held on 12-13 September in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Although Polish hero Majewski, the surprising winner of men’s Olympic Shot Put title, was competing the same day at the IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting in Eugene, USA, other Polish champions shone in good weather in Warsaw.
Wlodarczyk hammers out fourth round 75.21m effort
Fast progressing Anita Wlodarczyk, the new queen of the Polish hammer throwing, needed four throws to break the resistance of Slovakia’s world season leading Martina Hrasnova. After the first three throws the Slovak was clearly leading (73.12) and Wlodarczyk even had difficulty in qualifying to be in the final eight throwers. However, the fourth try was decisive as Wlodarczyk gained the event lead with a 75.21m effort and confirmed her supremacy in the final round with another throw over 75 metres (75.04). Hrasnova ended-up in second place thanks to her earlier 73.12m.
Malachowski - convincing win over Alekna
In-form Piotr Malachowski, the Olympic silver medallist at the Discus Throw, celebrated his 26th birthday with a convincing win (65.96 in the third round) over Lithuania’s former multiple World and Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna (63.91) and Hungary’s Zoltan Kovago (62.22), the 2004 Olympic Games silver medallist. The four best throws of Malachowski were all better than the best of his rivals.
In the women’s Discus Throw, France’s Melina Robert-Michon surprisingly took the victory thanks to a fifth round 61.69m which beat not only the Polish trio of Wisniewska-Potepa-Glanc but Romanian Nicoleta Grasu (61.17) and Ukrainian Natalya Fokina-Semyonova (61.10) as well. All the best results were set in the last two rounds.
The Polish discus throwers fought extremely closely in the battle to secure a spot in the national side for the European Team Championships with Joanna Wisniewska and Wioletta Potepa achieving exactly the same distance (60.93m), while Zaneta Glanc’s best performance was shorter only by 2cm.
The men’s Javelin proved the weakest of all throws with only one contender, Latvian Ainar Kovals, the Olympic silver medallist, crossing the 80 meters barrier. His best was a throw of 81.57m.
Rogowska wins the Polish tussle
A strong field gathered in women’s Pole Vault. Monika Pyrek and Anna Rogowska stood against a mighty Russian trio of Tatyana Polnova, Aleksandra Kiryashova, Yulia Golubchikova, as well as the improving Czech Jirina Ptacnikova.
The two leading Poles were also fighting for nomination to the squad for the European Team Championships. This time Rogowska proved to be the best as she was the only one to jump over 4.60m, though she failed to go any higher due to cramp in her right leg. Pyrek with a risky strategy ended up only fifth, although all her three efforts at 4.60m were very close.
Swede Linus Thornblad took the men’s High Jump with 2.31m, in the process beating amoung others Poland’s Grzegorz Sposób (2.24).
Twell triumphant with 4:03 PB
The best running event by far was the women’s 1500m which saw a strong, even pace from the very beginning led by the Russian and British entrants (until 2800m) which decimated the leading group just after 800m. The eventual winner was 20-year-old Briton Stephanie Twell who improved her personal best from last year by over 2 seconds with 4:03.62 a time which beat the Memorial record.
Behind Twell finished the 11-year-older Russian Natalia Yevdokimova (4:04.44), her compatriot Yulja Zarudneva-Ivanova (4:04.59) and another UK miler Charlene Thomas (4:05.06). Strong finishing Poles Lidia Chojecka (4:06.52) and Renata Plis (4:06.84) were 5th and 6th respectively. In all there were 7 personal best and 10 season’s best for the top 12 runners.
The women’s 400m Hurdles was also a fast run affair. Ukrainian Anastasiya Rabchenyuk in the last 30 metres took a small advantage over Anna Jesien of Poland (54.74 to 54.76 – two best performances in Europe this year).
In an interesting men’s 800m competition the talented Polish duo of Kszczot-Lewandowski could not survive an attack by Kenyan Reuben Bett (1:45.68). Second place was taken by Adam Kszczot who took the place in the national team for the European team Champs by just 1 hundreth of the second.
The 110m Hurdles without the injured Artur Noga lost much of its value for the Polish audience. The winner was Jamaican Maurice Wignall (13.55) who overtook Briton William Sharman just by 0.02 second. The women’s sprint hurdles went to another Jamaican Lacena Golding-Clarke (13.08) who didn’t find much opposition.
The 5000m Memorial run went to Kenyan Bernard Sang who closked 13:57.42 to defend the title he won last year title. Second place was taken by his compatriot a previous three-time winner of that race Joseph Kosgei 14:01.33.
The other winners included Aziz Zakari (10.29) and Marika Popowicz (11.45) in the men’s and women’s 100m, Marcin Marciniszyn (45.80) in the men’s 400m, and the Polish women’s team who clocked 44.24 for the 4x100 metres relay.
Daniel Grinberg for the IAAF
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