More than 3000 people packed into the Kadriorg Stadium in Tallinn on Thursday (13) evening for Gerd Kanter’s farewell competition.
Kanter, 39, is one of Estonia’s most revered sportspeople with 11 major medals in the discus to his name, including the world title in 2007 and the Olympic title in 2008.
A winning send-off was always a difficult ask as the organisers had also invited the top three discus throwers on the 2018 world lists to Kanter’s retirement competition.
In difficult wind conditions, Kanter finished sixth but he surpassed the 60 metre-line once again with 60.22m in the third round. As a mark of his longevity, Kanter holds the unofficial world record for the most consecutive competitions over 60 metres: a whopping 319 between 20 August 2002 and 10 September 2017.
Kanter is the third longest throw of all-time with 73.38m behind Lithuania’s Virgilijus Alekna (73.88m) and East Germany’s Jurgen Schult (74.08m).
Twelve years after coming within one metre of Schult’s world record, Kanter had to give way to the younger generation of throwers yesterday evening. Sweden’s Daniel Stahl took the plaudits with 64.91m by two centimetres from Lithuania’s reigning world and European champion Andrius Gudzius.
"It has been a very emotional day for me. Tough day, but a happy day," said Kanter.
"I have had a super career with great results. Super athletes around me, amazing team members and family. It has been a great honour to represent a small country like Estonia. I am proud to be an Estonian."
Kanter’s farewell competition was preceded by a special Gerd Kanter Legacy Conference at the Tallinn Film Festival which elicited an excellent response among the attendees.
The conference featured an excellent roster of speakers who all had an active role in Kanter’s career and the event was also broadcast live on Estonian Television.