Malachowski returns to form with London on the horizon

Piotr Malachowski
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Piotr Malachowski is rounding into form ahead of his title defence at the World Championships with a season's best of 67.68m in Cetniewo

Defending world champion Piotr Malachowski from Poland could not have asked for a better time to find his form with the World Championships in London just days away. 

At the Kamila Skolimowska Throwing Festival in Cetniewo on Saturday which was highlighted by Anita Wlodarczyk’s near world record in the hammer, Malachowski won the discus in a season’s best 67.68m to beat teammate Robert Urbanek  (65.01m) and set himself up brilliantly for the defence of his crown from Beijing. 

Prior to the weekend, Malachowski’s furthest throw in 2017 had been 65.90m back in June but along with this fine showing, he also has unfinished business at the Olympic Stadium in London. 

In 2012, the two-time European champion missed out on a medal at the Olympics when he finished fifth. He had won silver in Beijing in 2008 - and then repeated that success in Rio de Janeiro last year - and now he has the chance to make his mark in London where he will be chasing his fourth world championship medal.

 

After silver in Berlin in 2009 and Moscow in 2013, he made the short step up the podium by winning gold in Beijing with 67.40m from the second round. Urbanek took bronze that day and he will surely be battling for a medal again.

Sweden’s Daniel Stahl leads the world lists with 71.29m from the end of June. He is the only man to have broken 70m this summer. 

Cetniewo really did show the strength of Poland’s field eventers. Michal Haratyk was impressive in the shot put, winning with a personal best of 21.88m as all his six efforts were in excess of the 21m line as he beat European indoor and U23 champion Konrad Bukowiecki (21.40m.).

In the men’s hammer, two-time world champion Pawel Fajdek reversed the result of the Polish Championships, winning with 81.85m from Wojciech Nowicki (79.38m) to show they are also heading to London in top shape.

Stanek in great form with a 21.65m double

It is time to fine tune with the World Championships so close and that is just what Czech record-holder Tomas Stanek did in Nove Mesto Nad Metuji on Saturday.

Like Haratyk, Stanek was a measure of outstanding consistency at the event, clearing 21m on five occasions, and reaching a best of 21.65m twice. His worst valid throw was still 21.12m.

The 200m in London could be wide open with reigning champion Usain Bolt not running and that will surely be on the mind of in-form Turkish record-holder Ramil Guliyev who won here in 20.40 as he beat the Slovakian record-holder Jan Volko (20.66).

And it was a busy Saturday for the shot putters with Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Mesud Pezer taking his national record from 20.89m to 21.40m on home soil in Sokolac while Tsanko Arnaudov went out to 20.71m in Leiria.

On the women’s side, former world and European U20 champion Melissa Boekelman went out to a lifetime best of 18.66m in Merksem, Belgium.

Kiriazis and Kirt stake their claim

On the evidence of their duels in the Diamond League, the men’s javelin in London should be between Germans Johannes Vetter and Thomas Rohler but many other athletes will be knocking on the door of medals, including Greece’s Ioannis Kiriazis and Estonia’s Magnus Kirt. 

Competing at the Greek U23 Championships in Larisa on Sunday, Kiriazis won with 86.44m - the sort of throw which could be a podium contender. 

Kirt also did his chances no harm as he reached 86.06m in Orimattila, Finland, where he beat Trinidad and Tobago’s 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott (85.22m) and home hero Tero Pitkamaki (81.96m).

At the Latvian Championships in Orge, the women’s javelin produced some fine results, as Madara Palameika (61.11m) beat Anete Kocina (60.84m) and Lina Muze (60.55m) while Igors Sokolovs proved age means nothing as the 42-year-old took the hammer title with 75.86m.

At the CAU Inter-Counties Championships in Bedford, England, Great Britain’s Tom Gale, who won high jump bronze earlier this month at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Grosseto with 2.28m, improved on that mark as he moved to second on the world U20 lists by clearing 2.30m.