Elite Hammer Throw Comes to Switzerland

For the first time in more than a decade, a truly world-class hammer throw competition will take place in Switzerland. Switzerland has a long history of hosting elite competitions. The small country already has just as many Diamond League meets as the US, including the finale in Zurich. But the hammer throw has disappeared from these competitions. Ever since the Weltklasse am Rhein throwers meet was canceled around 2000, it has been rare for more than a few 70 meter throwers to show up at the same time. Things got even worse after Switzerland’s own two 70 meter guys retired after the Athens Olympiad.

Szymon Ziólkowski, who will headline Luzern 2012, is seen striking a pose for sponsor Polanik.

Therefore tomorrow’s Spitzenleichtathletik Luzern meet will be somewhat historic as many of the world’s best hammer throwers will be coming to Switzerland. Four throwers with season’s bests over 78 meters will headline the event, including 2000 Olympic champion Szymon Ziólkowski. While Ziólkowski just turned 36 a few weeks ago, he has shown he is still among the world’s best by winning bronze at the 2012 European Championships. The field is also very deep and includes some up-and-coming young throwers such as 2010 World Junior champion Conor McCullough and 2011 German junior champion Tristan Schwandke. Nearly all of the throwers are having the best season of their lives as shown by the fact that Oleksiy Sokyrskyy and Lukáš Melich, two throwers who have been under the radar for awhile, just placed second and third at the Madrid IAAF Hammer Challenge event. Luzern will serve as a final Olympic tune-up for many of these throwers and they will have an extra incentive to throw far in the form of a diamond for the winner and a share of a special $20,000 jackpot for anyone throwing over 79.50 meters.

The women’s hammer throw will also be part of the pre-program and promises some exciting competition. While it has fewer international names, Swiss throwers Lydia Wehrli and Nicole Zihlmann continue to chase the national record that Wehrli set in Luzern last year.

Entry is free for the hammer throw, as are standing room spots to watch the running events, so there is no reason not to come out and watch this rare occurrence if you are in Switzerland. The men’s competition starts at 6:03 pm and the women begin at 4:30 pm (complete time schedule available here). The meet also features a number of stars in other events like Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams and Jamaican sprinters Yohan Blake and Veronica Campbell-Brown. Once again, meet manager Terry McHugh (a former thrower himself) has lined up a great meet. Dollar-for-dollar he can do more with a budget than perhaps any meeting in Europe.

Men’s Hammer Throw Entries

Name Country SB PB Notes
Lukáš Melich CZE 79.44m 79.44m Czech champion, 3rd place at the recent Madrid IAAF Hammer Challenge
Oleksiy Sokyrskyy UKR 78.91m 78.91m Ukranian Champion 2010-2012, 6th place 2010 European Championships, 2nd place at the recent Madrid IAAF Hammer Challenge
Szymon Ziólkowski POL 78.51m 83.38m Bronze medal 2012 European Championships, Gold medal 2000 Olympics and 2001 World Championships
Jérôme Bortoluzzi FRA 78.26m 78.26m Finalist 2012 European Championships
Nicolas Figere FRA 76.23m 80.88m Two-time World Championship finalist, 2012 French Champion
Conor McCullough USA/IRL 74.01m 74.01m 2010 World Junior Champion
Martin Bingisser SUI 66.50m 67.90m Swiss Champion 2009-2012
Tristan Schwandke GER 66.05m 66.05m 2011 German Junior Champion
6 replies
  1. tb
    tb says:

    Looks like an entertaining meet (what’s the 80m “cat-stretcher”?) and you get six throws with top guys. Good luck!

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I don’t have the women’s start lists, but I know she will be there. This is where she set her national record last year and she’ll again be facing the hometown thrower and Swiss champion Nicole Zihlmann.

  2. peter van aken
    peter van aken says:

    Conor McCullough is having such an uneven hammer season, I was glad to see he is considered ready once again to compete internationally.


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