The 2017 World Championships kick off today in London. For hammer throwers the action starts tomorrow with the women’s qualification round. While the favorite is the surest bet of the entire meet, the women’s hammer will feature a wide open competition for the podium. Poland, China, and America bring the strongest teams of throwers with multiple medal hopefuls each. After a surprise Olympic bronze last summer, Sophie Hitchon will try to make another podium in front of a home crowd. And many other top throwers will join the battle too. Read more
Many of the other authors on HMMR Media have taken a look back at the world championships. Vern looked at what led Ashton Eaton to a new world record. Kibwé reflected on his own performance. And Martin looked at an interesting connection between first round fouls and making the finals. I wanted to answer a simple question: which country performed the best. So Martin and I compiled some statistics to help answer that question. Read more
After an exciting men’s hammer throw competition over the weekend, the women step into the ring on Wednesday. As with the men the favorite is clear: Anita Wlodarczyk has a chance to help Poland caputre it second hammer throw gold and third hammer throw medal at the meet. But, also as with the men, the podium is very wide open. Silver and bronze had the same result in the men’s competition and less than two meters separated second place from seventh. Look for much of the same in the women’s competition. 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
I have written before about the ludicrous new IAAF qualifying standards. The men’s discus and hammer were hit harder than perhaps any event. This year is a test run with the new system before they hike the standards up even higher for next year’s Olympic games. The idea was to simplify the system, but in the end it seems that athletes, coaches, and even federations are confused about the process. Read more
The one thing the men’s hammer throw final on Monday taught us was that anything can happen in the hammer throw. Krisztián Pars was the clear favorite and none of the leading athletics publications picked Pawel Fajdek to win a medal, let alone win gold. But the young Polish thrower lead the competition from start to finish and his dominance never looked in doubt. In hindsight, the result wasn’t a complete surprise. As I noted in my preview, the top ten throwers all had a season best within two meters of Pars which left him vulnerable.
With the men’s competition over, the women now take center stage and once again anything can happen. The women’s hammer throw is not as deep as the men, but the top five entrants are all within two meters of each other creating a similar situation to the men’s competition. Added to this is the unpredictability of the event. Tatyana Lysenko entered both the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics having suffered significant losses at the hands of her rivals, but both times overcame the underdog role to win gold. Predicting this year’s winner is equally difficult. And, as is always the case when the top women come together, the world record will once again be under threat. When all these factors come together the women’s competition will likely be even more exciting than the thrilling men’s final.
As usual, the hammer throw will be starting off the action at this year’s world championships. The men’s qualifying round will take place on Saturday afternoon, where 29 athletes will battle to make it on to Monday’s 12 person final. Coming off of a dominant Olympic title, Krisztián Pars is the name to watch. On the one hand it might appear like he will have things easier this year since, as is expected after an Olympic year, the level of hammer throwing has receded slightly. This year saw just 11 throwers over 79 meters and 36 over 76 meters, compared with 16 and 47 throwers respectively in 2012. But on the other hand Pars is barely ahead of the competition. All of the top ten entrants have a season’s best within two meters of Pars. In other words, the competition should be close and the pressure will still be on Pars.
If you are interested in an overview of the other throwing events, check out the House Of Run Podcast where I previewed all of the throwing events a few weeks ago. Jesse Squire of the Daily Relay has also put togehter a short overview of the men’s throwing events.
Perhaps the event with the best chance of setting a world record at this year’s world championship is the women’s hammer throw. Betty Heidler nearly became the first woman in history to break 80 meters earlier this season with her impressive throw of 79.42 meters in Halle. With that throw, she broke the second of Anita Wlordaczyk’s world records. Before Wlordaczyk was Tatyana Lysenko, who held the mark from 2006 to 2009. While Heidler and Lysenko have already met this year, Daegu is the first time this year that all three will face each other. It is rare for three world record holders to be in the same competition, but it is rarer still that they are all in the prime of their careers. At age 27, Lysenko is the oldest of the trio. The exciting men’s final produced season’s bests by all of the medalists. A similar result will create some some early fireworks as the women’s hammer takes place on Sunday, the final day of the meet. Below you will find a preview of these three women and the other contenders for medals.
While the men’s hammer throw likely won’t produce any headline-making distances at this year’s world championships, it should be one of the closest competitions in Daegu. The is no hiding that the level of the event has fallen with the stock market since 2007. Back in Osaka, the field was deeper than ever and it took more than 78 meters to place in the top ten. In Berlin, 79 meters somehow took silver and this year the A-standard of 78 meters is enough to win some of the IAAF Hammer Challenge meets (image the A-standard of 10.18 winning a Diamond League 100m event). There are now fewer A qualifiers in the hammer than any event at the championships.
The bright side is that the lower level has opened up the competition. Any of a dozen athletes could realistically stand atop the podium. A throw of just over 80 meters should win and, at the very least, will guarantee a medal. Of the 35 competitors, nearly half (16) have broken that barrier in their career. The sparse schedule for the IAAF Hammer Challenge means that many of the best were last tested more than six weeks ago in Madrid. Six weeks is a long time. It’s ample time to either fix mistakes or get rusty. World leader Aleksey Zagorniy has now withdrawn due to injury, leaving the twelve throwers I profile below as the top contenders. As you might notice, the field is so deep that I had to leave out an Olympic medalist.