Johanes Vetter’s 94.44m throw in the javelin stole the spotlight at the Spitzenleichtathletik meeting in Lucerne on Tuesday (11).
The mammoth effort elevated the 24-year-old German to the No.2 position on the world all-time list, supplanting compatriot Thomas Rohler, the Olympic champion, who threw 93.90m in Doha in early May.
Illustrating remarkable form, Vetter, who entered the competition with an 89.68m lifetime best, threw beyond the 90-metre barrier four times. He began on a tear, opening the competition with a personal best of 90.75m. He improved to 91.06m in the second round, further still to 93.06m in the third before breaching 94 metres with his 94.44m winning effort in the fourth, the fifth farthest throw of all time. Only world record-holder Jan Zelezny’s four best throws have sailed farther.
Still riding a high, Vetter ended the competition with another remarkable throw of 89.50m.
Rohler had to settle for second, reaching 89.45m in the fourth round followed by 88.47m in the fifth.
Vetter beat Rohler for the third time this month after winning the Paris IAAF Diamond League meeting with 88.74m and the German title in Erfurt with 89.35m. This year he had already thrown beyond 89 metres on two other occasions and twice more beyond 88 metres. Rohler has beaten Vetter five times in 2017 including the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Doha and Rome and at the IAAF World Challenge stop in Ostrava.
“I had a lot of adrenaline after the first two attempts,” Vetter said. “The first throw over 90 metres pushed me. I achieved my goal of this season and set the German record. I am without words. It’s incredible that I produced four throws over 90 metres two days after winning the German title.”
“The reason for German success is that we have a good team,” he continued. “We are good friends and we have good coaches. After the warm-up I expected to throw 90 metres but 94.44 in incredible. I need some days for it to sink it in. The javelin throw will be one of the greatest highlights of the World Championships in London.” But first comes an IAAF Diamond League stop in Monaco.
Nelvis holds off Pearson and Castlin
Sharika Nelvis followed up her 100m hurdles win in Lausanne’s IAAF Diamond League meeting with another impressive win on Swiss soil clocking 12.67 (-1.2 m/s) beating 2012 Olympic champion Sally Pearson, who clocked 12.83 two days after her impressive runner-up finish in the Anniversary Games in London where she clocked 12.48. Olympic bronze medallist Kristi Castlin finished third with 12.88.
“I am happy with my performance as I did not know that there was negative wind,” said Nelvis, whose next stop will also be Monaco. “Running 12.67 in these conditions was pretty good. It was my second time in Lucerne and the crowd was amazing.”
Olympic finalist Devon Allen completed a US double in the sprint hurdles, winning the men’s 110m event in 13.31 ahead of African record-holder Antonio Alkana of South Africa who clocked 13.34. Jarred Eaton was third in 13.38.
Lea Sprunger provided the highlight for the enthusiastic Swiss fans by winning the women’s 200m in 22.97 (-0.3m/s) over Aaliyah Brown of the US by a scant 0.01. Another Swiss star Muijinga Kambundji was third in 23.05.
“I hoped to reach this consistency,” said Sprunger, who finished second in the 400m hurdles in Lausanne, clocking 54.29, just 0.04 shy of Anita Protti’s national record. “I had a good preparation with no injuries. Swiss athletics is very strong at the moment.”
Next on her schedule are stops in Rabat where she’ll run the 400m hurdles followed by a 400m race in Bellinzona.
Petra Fontanive scored the second Swiss win just a few minutes later by taking the 400m hurdles in 54.74 ahead of Rome and London IAAF Diamond League winner Janieve Russell who clocked 55.13. In the men’s race Quincy Downing of the US beat 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson, 48.85 to 49.40.
German Christin Hussong, the 2015 European U23 champion, clinched her second javelin win in Lucerne with a 64.18m throw in the sixth attempt to overtake Kathryn Mitchell, who led with 61.44m since the second round.
Olga Mullina, who competes as a neutral athlete, cleared 4.55m on her third attempt and 4.62m at the second time of asking to win the women’s pole vault. She later bowed out with three tries at 4.71m. Local favourite Nicole Buchler finished second with 4.40m just two days after clearing a season’s best of 4.73m in London.
The sprint races were affected by head winds. Kelly-Ann Baptiste from Trinidad and Tobago took the women’s A race in 11.16 (-0.7m/s). Jamaican Remona Burchell took the B race in 11.23 (-1.1m/s).
In the men’s 100m, Michael Rodgers of the US and Jamaican Michael Campbell ran to a virtual dead heat, clocking 10.29, with Rodgers given the nod. Nickel Ashmeade won the 200m in 20.37, beating Warren Weir by 0.07.
Elsewhere on the track, world bronze medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia and Herzegovina won the 800m in 1:46.74 from Erik Sowinski (1:47.06) of the US. Matthew Centrowitz, the Olympic 1500m champion, was a distant seventh in 1:49.12.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF