With the decision of the new IAAF Diamond League to not include the hammer throw in its line-up, the hammer throw was immediately excluded from being part of the world’s best one day meetings. Meets like the adidas Grand Prix, the Doha Diamond League meeting, the Prefontaine Classic and others had all been welcome homes to the hammer in the past, but the announcement indicated that things were about to change.
Not so, however, with the Prefontaine Classic. Long regarded as America’s top track and field competition, the Prefontaine Classic announced in the spring that it would nevertheless host a women’s hammer throw competition. While the hammer will be a non-Diamond League event, and thus not eligible for year end bonuses, the pool of prize money for the event will remain at the level it was at last year.
If you will be near Eugene, we highly recommend you support the hammer throw, the Prefontaine Classic, and its decision to continue to have the event as part of one of the world’s best meets. Meet director Tom Jordan has worked hard to assemble one of the best fields so far this season and it will not disappoint.
- Betty Heidler (Germany) – The 2007 World Champion and 2009 World silver medalist has won 7 of her 9 competitions so far this year and has only lost at the hands of world record holder Anita Wlodarczyk. Her personal best of 77.12m ranks fifth all-time in the world and she is the two-time defending Prefontaine champion.
- Tatyana Lysenko (Russia) – Lysenko emerged as the face of hammer throwing in 2006 when she set a world record of 77.80m. However, she had to sit out two years for a doping ban before returning to the sport last summer. While she has been slow to hit her stride again, she has recently returned to form by throwing a seasons best of 76.03m and beating two-time silver medalist Yipsi Moreno and the great IAAF Hammer Challenge field at the Znamensky Memorial Meeting.
- Sultana Frizell (Canada) – The Canadian record holder entered the season on a roll after placing 10th at last year’s world championships and 6th at the World Athletics Finals. This spring she has already bettered her Canadian record to 72.34m and thrown over 71 meters in her last six competitions. She is well travelled this spring and has already faced Heidler and Lysenko on many occasions.
- Amber Campbell (USA) – Fresh off of her win at the US championships, Campbell hopes to make the international breakthrough she has been on the verge of for the past year. She made the finals and placed 11th and the World Championships last summer and has improved her personal best to 71.94m this spring. During the indoor season, she won the $50,000 Visa Championship Series.
- Jessica Cosby (USA) – After a slow spring, Cosby has come on strong and placed second at the US championships. Last year she set a personal best of 72.21m and placed 7th at the World Championships.
- Britney Henry (USA) – Hometown favorite Britney Henry, a graduate of the University of Oregon, is one of the younger faces at the top of American hammer throwing. This spring she improved her best to 71.27m and won a bronze medal at the U.S. Championships last weekend.
World record holder and world champion Anita Wlodarczyk was also on the initial start list for the event, but had to withdraw at the last minute due to a back injury. She is currently received a scan and treatment for a disk problem she suffered in practice. Rumor has it she may also be out of competition until the European Championships. In any event, the field of six throwers will be strong and nearly everyone has a chance to break Heidler’s Hayward Field record of 73.93m set in 2008.