As has been the case the last several years, the men’s hammer throw this year featured a densely packed field of throwers trading spots on the circuit. But unlike last year, where Pawel Fajdek ran the table, even the top position was not entirely clear as he stumbled on the biggest stage this year. Other perrenial favorites, like Krisztian Pars, hit troubles due to injury. This made my task of compiling an annual ranking harder than normal. The finished product is below and the women’s rankings will be up later in the week too. Read more
I don’t know if you could ask much more of yetersday’s women’s hammer final. As I predicted it was the Anita show. But she did it in style by breaking 80 meters three times, surpassing her own world record twice, and setting the new mark out an amazing 1.21 meters beyond her old world record. In addition Sophie Hitchon captured the UK’s first medal in the event with a clutch sixth round national record. And two Americans placed in the top eight. Thankfully, that was just the start of the hammer throw action. The men join in on the fun tomorrow. Read more
After publishing our annual women’s rankings on Sunday we are following it up with the men’s rankings today. While there was no men’s world record this year, the season has some great performances and battles. The field was closely packed together which should also make for an exciting Olympics next summer. Read more
The IAAF World Championships kick off on Saturday and the hammer throw will be one of the first events under way. Pawel Fajdek is the clear front runner this year, but the podium will be wide open behind him. Based on how the season has unfolded a throw of 78 meters might make the podium and more than half of the field is capable of that. The odds are strong for veterans like Krisztian Pars to add to his medal collection or Dilshod Nazarov to win his first piece of hardware. But the situation might also present the chance for someone with longer odds like Kibwé Johson or Nick Miller to squeeze on the podium. It will be quite interesting to see how it unfolds. Read more
Kibwé beat me to the punch in January when he outlined his wishes for the hammer in 2015, but our event is so fun that there is always room for another’s take on it. The month of May is when the season really gets underway, so it’s time for me to count down my annual list of 10 reasons to watch the hammer throw this season. Please share what you are looking forward to in the comments section below. Read more
Last week we started off the year-end review with a look at the top 10 women of 2014. We’ll continue with the men today which was even closer and more exciting than last year. The greatest rivalry in track and field right now in track and field is the men’s hammer throw. Krisztian Pars and Pawel Fajdek face off nearly every week during the season and it is a toss up who will win. It was literally a toss up as the average margin of victory was less than 10 centimeters (four inches). Read more
Patrick Magyar is the most powerful track and field figure in Switzerland and one of the most connected worldwide. As the director of the Weltklasse Zurich meet and CEO for the recent European Championships, he helps guide the sport in Switzerland. He also is working on the international level as the vice chairman of the Diamond League. He puts together a good meet, I’ll give him that, but I must say I do not feel entirely safe if the future of the sport is in his hands. Speaking to the German magazine Leichtathletik last week, Magyar didn’t hold back his thoughts on the future of athletics:
Long qualifications, competition procedures, complicated events – how do we want to have athletics in future? Must all events be held? We cannot avoid discussions about deleting some elements.
The women’s lineup I previewed on Monday looks much the same as it did two years ago and today’s qualification showed the same players will be fighting it out. The men’s competition, on the other hand, features a fresh crop of athletes mixed in with some old familiar veterans. Highlighting it all will be a matchup I listed as the number one reason to watch the hammer in 2014: Pars vs. Fajdek. The Olympic champion Krisztian Pars will be making his fourth European Championship start while young 25-year old World Champion Pawel Fajdek will be making his debut. What looked like a great rivalry at the start of the season has only gotten better throughout the year.
Krisztian Pars (HUN)
Season Best/Personal Best: 82.49m (1st), Last EC/Best Finish: 1st
Pawel Fajdek (POL)
Season Best/Personal Best: 82.37m (2nd), Last EC/Best Finish: First Appearance
As said above, Pars might have the slight advantage when looking at the season so far, but Fajdek showed last year that this does not mean much. Heading into the World Championships Pars was the clear number one. But Fajdek unleashed a personal best to win convincingly. He’ll be looking find that type of peak again for another major title.
Marcel Lomnicky (SVK)
Season Best/Personal Best: 79.16m (3rd), Last EC/Best Finish: 11th
Libor Charfreitag, the champion from four years ago, will not be starting at this year’s edition. However Slovakia has another shot at a medal with young Marcel Lomnicky. Lomnicky has consistently improved since graduating from Virginia Tech and now finds himself in good position for his first international medal. Compared to his competitors his advantage is that he has thrown 77 to 79 meters at nearly every meet this year and finished on the podium at several IAAF Hammer Challenge events. Only once in eleven competitions has he been beaten by more than two Europeans this year.
Primoz Kozmus (SLO)
Season Best/Personal Best: 77.44m (8th), Last EC: Did not compete, Best Finish: 6th (2006)
As former World and Olympic champion, it surprising that Kozmus has never placed higher than sixth at the European Championship. But it has actually been eight years since he last competed. Kozmus has a very slow start to the season and competed sparingly, but is slowly finding form and threw 77.44 meters late in July. With his competitive experience and history of peaking at the right time, he is the biggest threat to Lomnicky’s medal chances.
Pavel Kryvitski (BLR)
Season Best: 79.21m (3rd), Personal Best: 80.67m, Last EC/Best Finish: 9th
Kryvitski is the top ranked Belorussian this year, but has faced trouble in qualification rounds at past major championships. But his last few international meets this year have produced 75 to 77 meter results, which would put him in a good position if replicated in Zurich.
Sergey Litvinov Jr. (RUS)
Season Best/Personal Best: 78.77m (5th), Last EC/Best Finish: First Appearance
Always a threat, Litvinov seemed to be on the right path with some great spring marks and superb wins at Fränkisch-Crumbach and the European Team Championships in June. But since that he has been a few meters down, and could be be a few meters less than required for a medal.
Serghei Marghiev (MDA)
Season Best/Personal Best: 78.27m (6th), Last EC/Best Finish: First Appearance
The youngest thrower in the field is also one of the biggest wildcards. Having just turned 22 this summer, Marghiev seems to have reached a new level. When he threw a personal best of 78 meters in Chi?in?u this spring, I didn’t think much of it. His top six marks all came from the Moldovan capital and his best mark outside the country was five meters less. But back to back wins over 76 meters at the European Team Championships lower division and Balkan Championships show he is now an international threat too.
Others to WatchThe rest of the field is quite bunched together and should be packed around 72 to 75 meters in qualifying, which is right around where the historic cut off to make finals is. This should make for an exciting qualification Thursday morning.
While many of the throwers I mentioned above have little European Championships experience, the opposite is the case for 41 year old Nicola Vizzoni of Italy and 38 year old Szymon Ziolkowski of Poland. Both will be competing at their sixth championship and both bring experience: Vizzoni won silver in 2010 and Ziolkowski bronze in 2012. While they may no longer be battling for the podium, their consistency and experience should earn them another spot in the finals.
Another name to look for further down the results is mine, Martin Bingisser. In case you haven’t been following this site, I will be making my major championships debut. Finals will require a whole new level, but a personal best and top 20 finish is a definite possibility.
The month of May traditionally marks the start of the international season. The top North American throwers have already started to knock off the dust and the IAAF Hammer Challenge kicks off next weekend in Tokyo. Ready or not, the season is starting.
Some view this as a lost year as there is no World Championship or Olympics. For American athletes it could indeed be hard to find a challenge, but there is plenty to look forward to this year. As is my annual tradition now, here are ten of the things I am most looking forward to. Feel free to leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to this season as a fan of the sport at any level.
The end of the year means its rankings time. Athletics Weekly released their rankings last week and Track and Field News will be doing so shortly. While I may not have a team of experts behind my rankings, I do have an insider’s view. We don’t have the Diamond League in our event, and even all of our Hammer Challenge meets are not created equal since a few good marks are more important than lots of wins. Separating the best from the rest is not always an easy task. Using subjective analysis of lots of numbers, here is the third edition of my annual men’s hammer throw rankings.
1. Krisztian Pars (HUN) – After an Olympic gold medal in 2012, it seemed like Pars might cruise through this year. But Pars quietly put together one of the best seasons of his life winning 15 of 16 finals, including 5 wins on the IAAF Hammer Challenge circuit. But that one loss was a big blemish on his résumé since it came at the biggest meet of the year: the World Championships in Moscow. Nevertheless he was strong enough throughout the season to retain his top ranking from last season. Two statistics stood out to me. First, he had nine meets over 80-meters. No other athlete had more than three competitions over 80-meters. And second, after losing in Moscow he came back and threw his best throw since 2006 to win at the Dubnica IAAF Hammer Challenge. This was his second best throw ever and only 5-centimeters off his personal best. It may not be as nice as gold, but it was still a nice little revenge for him.
2. Pawel Fajdek (POL) – Fajdek has claimed among the world’s elite over the past two years, but failed to show he could perform at the biggest champioships. This year he put together three solid wins: the European Team Championships, World University Games, and most importantly the World Championships. His win at the World Championships was the most impressive; not only were all his competitors there but he led from start to finish by nearly two meters. But he still lost nine competitions this year, including 4 of 5 competitions to Pars. Fajdek has yet to find the consistency of his Hungarian rival, but he has made himself a favorite for next summer’s European Championships.
3. Lukas Melich (CZE) – While veteran throwers have a strong force in the hammer, rarely does a medalist first emerge at that age. Ziolkowski, Vizzoni, and Murofushi were all finalists in Moscow, but had already won their first medals by their mid-20s. The 32-year old Melich is therefore an exception. His career has long had good results, but was plagued by inconsistence. He only made his first championship final last year, but continued to improve this year. He had the best four competitions of his career, including his first three 80-meter throws. He also placed no lower than fourth in 19 competitions against strong competition. The consistency made the difference for him this year and led to his biggest accomplishment: bronze at the World Championships.
4. Primoz Kozmus (SLO) – The 2008 Olympic Champion competing only seven times this year, but was quite consistent. He won at the Karlstad IAAF Hammer Challenge, had good runner-up finishes to Pars in Budapest and Velenje, and finished his season just 14-centimeters off of the podium in Moscow.
5. Dilshod Nazarov (TJK) – Nazarov placed fifth at the World Championships and that was his lowest finish of the year. That’s how strong his performances were this year. Among his other highlights were a new personal best of 80.71-meters and a win in Halle, fourth place in the overall IAAF Hammer Challenge, and a win at the Asian Championships. His season nearly earned him fourth place, but he lost twice in two meets in Kozmus.
6. Marcel Lomnicky (SVK) – The former NCAA Champion truly burst onto the international scene this year and showed how just a little improvement at the international level can mean so much. Lomnicky improved his personal best by just more than a meter this year, but more importantly he had nine of his ten best competitions all-time. This was enough to get him into the finals in Moscow, sixth place in the IAAF Hammer Challenge, and a podium finishes at the World University Games, the competitive Dubnica meeting, Karlstad Grand Prix, and in Ponce.
7. Szymon Ziolkowski (POL) – Twelve years after his first appearance at the World Championships, Ziolkowski placed ninth in Moscow. It may have been his lowest finish ever, but that is the mark of a great career. While his World Championships may have been disappointing, his overall season was very strong. Adding consistency to last season. With the exception of one competition, he was always in the top five and had several meets over 77 meters which earned him seventh place in the IAAF Hammer Challenge.
8. Koji Murofushi (JPN) – The aging Japanese champion placed sixth at the World Championships and it is hard to rank him any higher since there are no other performances to evaluate. He competed only one other time and had no other competitions against international throwers.
9. Sergey Litvinov (RUS) – Litvinov was returning from injury this year, but competed very well. The highlight was a bronze at the World University Games. However he hit his peak a little early and despite a good qualifying round placed just 11th at the World Championships.
10. Nicola Vizzoni (ITA) – The Tuscan might not be able to produce the huge throws of years past, but he still performs when it counts. A seventh place finish at the World Championships highlighted his season and pushed him into the top ten.