The standard in the throwing events could not have been higher this weekend at the Polish Championships in Bialystok.
At the last IAAF World Championships in Beijing, Pawel Fajdek won hammer gold for Poland as Wojciech Nowicki took bronze but twelve months later, the world champion didn’t make the final as his rival won another bronze medal.
Nowicki had never beaten Fajdek again – until now.
By breaking the 80m barrier for the first time on Saturday, Nowicki celebrated one of his greatest triumphs just days before the next World Championships in London as he won the national title with a throw of 80.47m ahead of Fajdek with 78.64m.
Bialystok has become quite a home for his best performances. His last PB of 78.71m was set here in 2015 and he also set his season’s best throws here in 2011 (72.72m) and last summer (78.36m).
Now London awaits and what confidence he will take into it as Fajdek suffered defeat after a run of 12 successive victories.
When it comes to the World Championships, Poland’s favourite for gold will be Anita Wlodarczyk, the two-time Olympic and world champion not to mention world record-holder.
On Sunday, she stamped her mark over the national championships when she won with a sensational 80.79m. It is a world leading throw, the fifth furthest she has ever thrown and the sixth time she has broken the 80m barrier as Malwina Kopron took her personal best to 75.11m in second and Joanna Fiodorow (73.82m) was third.
There could not have been a better way to the start the championships than with a national record on Friday. The javelin mark of 86.77m held by Dariusz Trafas had stood since 2002 but it was replaced by a brilliant performance from Marcin Krukowski who reached a superb 88.09m.
It moved him into fifth position on the world lists this year and took his personal best from 85.20m.
The discus also produced another upset as defending world champion Piotr Malachowski had to settle for second with 64.44m as Robert Urbanek won with 65.29m while Piotr Lisek followed up his fine win at the Diamond League in Monaco on Friday by breaking his outdoor pole vault personal best to win the national title with 5.85m on Sunday.
And in the shot put, Michal Haratyk produced a personal best of 21.53m to beat newly-crowned European U23 champion Konrad Bukowiecki, second with 20.21m.
Among the track champions, Ewa Swoboda followed up her gold at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz by winning the 100m in 11.29 while Adam Kszczot ran his first 1500m for seven years, winning in a lifetime best of 3:38.31 as he beat Marcin Lewandowski, the national record-holder, who was second in 3:41.82.
Moser builds on Bydgoszcz glory
The Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich hosted the Swiss Championships where European U23 pole vault champion Angelica Moser took the age-group national record to 4.61m. She had won in Bydgoszcz with 4.55m.
On Friday, Mujinga Kambundji secured her eighth national 100m title, winning in 11.08 - just 0.01 outside of her national record - before winning the 200m on Saturday in 22.42, this time missing the national mark of Lea Sprunger, who was second in 22.56, by 0.04.
At the Lithuanian Championships in Palanga, Andrius Gudzius approached his lifetime best with his sixth-round throw of 68.04m in the discus while Zinaida Sendriute won the women’s event in 60.50m. On her comeback from injury, European indoor high jump champion Airine Palsyte cleared 1.85m to seal the title.
Martin Kupper (61.70m) beat Gerd Kanter (61.14m) in the discus at the Estonian Championships in Tallinn while in Dublin, Olympic 400m hurdles finalist Thomas Barr became Ireland’s national 400m hurdles champion for the seventh year in a row as he won in 49.79.
At the Slovenian Championships, the highlight was veteran Martina Ratej’s victory in the javelin with 63.15m in the fifth round.
Ruiz eclipses Spanish shot put record
There was a brilliant performance on the opening day of the Spanish Championships in Barcelona on Saturday as Ursula Ruiz broke the national shot put record, her mark of 18.28m replacing Irache Quintanal’s 18.20m.
In the respective 100m finals, Cristina Lara broke the meeting record as she won the women’s title in 11.40 and Angel David Rodriguez took the men’s sprint title for the 10th time in 10.24.
European indoor 3000m champion Adel Mechaal had a fine double, winning a tactical 5000m in 14:07.93 on Saturday and then taking the 1500m in 3:47.17 on Sunday.
As expected, Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega won the 110m hurdles (13.52) and there was a fine lifetime best for Samuel Garcia in the 200m (20.59) while Olympic champion Ruth Beitia’s 1.86m brought her her 13th national high jump title.
Krumins sets 5000m PB in Heusden
Away from the national championships, Susan Krumins won a high quality 5000m at the 38th Night of Athletics in Heusden-Zolder, a European Athletics Outdoor Classic meeting, in a lifetime best of of 14:53.35 ahead of world 10,000m bronze medallist Emily Infeld (14:56.33).
There was more success for the Netherlands as Lisanne de Witte won the 400m in 52.17 and in the high jump, Ukraine’s Yulia Levchenko cleared 1.91m to beat Belgium’s Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Nafissatou Thiam (1.88m).