Kolak looking good for winter glory

Kolak looking good for winter glory
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Olympic javelin champion Sara Kolak will be among the stars at this weekend's European Throwing Cup in Las Palmas.

It was the fourth round of the Olympic javelin final in Rio de Janeiro last summer which changed Sara Kolak’s life.

The Croatian was in sixth and she had significantly increased her distance with each throw, from 60.89m to 62.95m to 63.00m.

And then came something extraordinary as Kolak reached 66.18m with a stunning effort to win gold and break the national record of 64.30m she had produced two days earlier in qualifying.

Seven months on, Kolak, 21, will take this status as an Olympic champion into this weekend’s next major event as Las Palmas in Gran Canaria hosts the 17th European Throwing Cup.

And she does so having already shown that she will be in the market for more honours at this summer’s IAAF World Championships in London.

Kolak tops the European Athletics rankings at this early stage for throwers in 2017 with a brilliant 65.23m from Split last month, the only woman to break the 60m barrier this year.

And this weekend she will face the woman next on the rankings as Kolak takes her place in the under-23 event.

Turkey’s Eda Tugsuz, the world junior bronze medallist who is not 20 until the end of the month, broke the national record with 59.68m in Mersin last month and meeting the Olympic champion will give her a chance of cracking 60m.

The senior women’s javelin competition will pit world champion Katharina Molitor against fellow German Christin Hussong, the 2015 European Under-23 champion, and Slovenian Martina Ratej, who has thrown 63.95m this year.

Hungarian shot putter Anita Marton had another weekend to remember in Belgrade as she brilliantly defended her European indoor title and now she will be looking to add another European triumph to her list of success.

Marton, who won with 19.28m at the Kombank Arena, will once more meet bronze medallist Yuliya Leantsiuk of Belarus (18.32m), while in the hammer, France’s Alexandra Tavernier and Germany’s Kathrin Klaas are among the main contenders.

Melina Robert-Michon, France’s Olympic silver medallist, will be hard to beat in the women’s discus but the men’s competition could be closer, with Austrian Lukas Weisshaidinger, who was sixth in Rio, facing the likes of Estonia  Martin Kupper, Erik Cadee, of the Netherlands, Sweden’s Daniel Stahl and Lois Mikael Martinez, of Spain.