The 61st Janusz Kusocinski Memorial in Szczecin lived up to all expectations – and for Pawel Fajdek, it could hardly have gone any better. Infact, he was left stunned as he twice broke the national hammer record with throws of 83.83m and 83.93m.
"It is a shock for me," said Fajdek. "I did not count on such results."
The Polish crowd were treated to a stunning home performance from their world champion who then bowed out after four rounds, to save himself for the title defence in Beijing next week.
Fajdek had held the record of 83.48m from 2014 but on Sunday at this European Athletics Classic Outdoor Meeting he first improved the mark, and the world lead, with his opening effort and then in the second round, stretched it further as he beat Great Britain’s Nick Miller (75.56m) in second and Marcel Lomnicky, of Slovakia, in third (75.03m).
Speaking to Polish television afterwards, Fajdek said: "After the fourth throw, I thought I had better stop competing. It was too exciting! I need save to energy and get ready for Beijing."
His third round throw had reached 81.44m before a foul with his next effort but it was an afternoon he will long remember in his bid to retain his world title in a year where no-one else has broken 80m.
His closest challenger in the world rankings is Hungary’s Olympic champion Krisztian Pars, who himself is in good form, but not as good form as Fajdek.
With a season’s best of 79.91m, from the previous weekend in Cetniewo, Poland, Pars was the star of the second day of the 120th Hungarian Championships on Saturday when he took the title with 78.35m.
It was a fine day all round for the Polish athletes in Szczecin.
In the women’s hammer, world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk (76.70m) beat Germany’s Betty Heidler (73.37m) and Britain’s Sophie Hitchon (72.23m) while discus world No. 1 Piotr Malachowski (67.49m) triumphed over Polish teammate Robert Urbanek (66.31m).
Olympic shot put champion Tomasz Majewski (20.69m) beat Argentina’s German Lauro (20.58m) and Ryan Whiting (20.55m), the USA’s double world indoor champion, and Piotr Lisek cleared 5.72m for victory in the pole vault.
As expected, the men’s 800m was one of the races of the day as European champion Adam Kszczot (1:44.67) led a Polish cleansweep from Marcin Lewandowski (1:44.97) and Artur Kuciapski (1:46.14).
The women’s 1500m saw Sofia Ennaoui (4:08.21) beat Polish rival Angelika Cichoka (4:08.62) and 12 months on from winning 800m bronze at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Joanna Jozwik dropped down to the 600m where she triumphed in a Polish all-time best of 1:25.04.
Warming up for Beijing, Denise Rosolova, of the Czech Republic, won the 400m hurdles (55.82m) and in the javelin, Belarusian Tatsiana Khaldovich (58.42m) beat the 2011 world champion, Russia’s Mariya Abakumova (57.21m).
Hussein's quickest yet
On the upward climb towards a peak in Beijing, European 400m hurdles champion Kariem Hussein showed he means business with victory on the last day of the Swiss Championships in Zug on Saturday.
Hussein, such a hero in Zurich last summer, ran a European lead with a personal best of 48.45, winning by more than 3.5 seconds.
It was a weekend of good performances in this event.
At the Estonian Championships in Tallinn on Sunday, Rasmus Magi, who was second behind Hussein at the Europeans, won in 48.65, the second quickest time of his career, and at the 143rd Irish national championships in Santry, Thomas Barr won in 49.68.
New mark for Asher-Smith
Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the national 100m record-holder who has opted for the 200m in Beijing, warmed up by breaking the national league record in Eton on Saturday, winning in 22.72 for her club Blackheath and Bromley.
In Mannheim, Germany’s Verena Sailer won the 100m (11.10), just beating Britain’s Desiree Henry who ran the first of two personal bests - 11.11 for the 100m and 22.94 in taking the 200m.
There are 25 meetings in Europe this week, for full details go to www.european-athletics.org/calendar.