Rohler and the Hartings enjoy the spotlight in Berlin

ISTAF Berlin javelin
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Thomas Rohler won the men's javelin at the ISTAF in Berlin ahead of German teammates Julian Weber and Andreas Hofmann

Germany didn’t quite manage a clean sweep of the medals in the javelin at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships but they filled the first three spots at the annual ISTAF meeting in the Olympic Stadium on Sunday (2).

Andreas Hofmann has beaten Thomas Rohler twice since the European Championships - including on Thursday night at the Zurich Diamond League when Hofmann surpassed the 90 metre-mark once again - but Rohler returned to winning ways in the arena where he was crowned European champion last month.

Rohler produced the two longest throws of the competition - 86.18m in round four and 86.50m in round five - to defeat Julian Weber (85.54m) with Hofmann third (85.09m).

“I had a lot of fun today. Especially the lap of honour; that felt like the European Championships,” said Rohler. “Our German triple triumph felt amazing. We live as one team and we all get along very well. That’s an important piece of our success.”

Germany has won the last three major titles - Rohler won the 2018 Olympics and 2018 European Championships with Johannes Vetter taking the world title in 2017. Vetter will receive a wildcard for the 2019 World Championships which means Germany will be able to field four throwers in Doha next year.

But next up for Rohler is the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava. He will compete for Team Europe alongside Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch.  

There was also a celebratory atmosphere in the discus as Robert Harting - a six-time major title winner between 2009 and 2014 - ended his illustrious career in the stadium where he memorably won his first of three world titles nine years ago.

With the very final throw of his career, Robert moved up into second with 64.95m but it was just short of younger brother Christoph’s winning throw of 65.67m. Martin Wierig ensured another German sweep in third with 63.67m.

Harting’s celebration in 2009 was just as memorable as his performance as he hoisted Berlino the Bear over his shoulders. Berlino was in the stadium again for Harting’s swansong and after the competition, Berlino bowed before him as Harting was warmly congratulated by his adversaries.

“Yesterday, I left home a little sad because I knew that when I come back home I won´t be a professional athlete anymore,” said Harting. “Right now, I am really happy and hope I can take all the positive emotions with me.”

Christina Schwanitz’s bid for a third successive European outdoor shot put title came to a halt with the penultimate throw of the final but the German was back in winning form at the ISTAF. She won with 19.25m ahead of European champion Paulina Guba from Poland, second with 18.58m.

Schwanitz and Guba have been competing against each other all season - the head-to-head is 4-1 in the German’s favour - but they will join forces for Team Europe at the Continental Cup next weekend.

There was also a reversal of fortunes in the men’s high jump. Mateusz Przybylko was looking for his second win in the Olympic Stadium in the space of a month but the German finished second to Belarus’ Maksim Nedasekau - the silver medallist behind Przybylko at the European Championships - after a third-time clearance at 2.30m. Przybylko led on countback up until that point.

European javelin champion Christin Hussong was also edged out in the very late stages by Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Roberts whose final round throw of 62.70m supplanted Hussong’s 61.51m.

On the track, European bronze medallist Orlando Ortega continued his excellent late season form with victory in the 110m hurdles in 13.15 - a time which would have won the European title last month - while Pamela Dutkiewicz (12.73) and Cindy Roleder (12.77) were second and third in the 100m hurdles behind the United States’  Christina Manning in 12.72.

There was also an excellent performance in the 100m ‘B’ race from Great Britain’s Kristal Awuah, winning in 11.16 to move within 0.02 of Dina Asher-Smith’s British U20 100m record.

Awuah won bronze at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland in July and will join forces with Asher-Smith and co at the Continental Cup when she will make her senior debut in the 4x100m relay.