Schwanitz makes a statement on her return to competition in Halle

Christina Schwanitz
Getty Images

European shot put champion Christina Schwanitz returned to competition with a European-leading mark of 19.39m in Halle

After becoming a mother to twins last July, Christina Schwanitz returned to competition in brilliant style on Sunday (13) to set the tone for what could become one of the stories of the summer.

In her first event since the German Indoor Championships in Leipzig in February last year, Schwanitz, 32, eased to the top of the European shot put lists as she won in Halle with a distance of 19.39m, the fourth best in the world in 2018.

Already a two-time European champion, there can be no better incentive for her return than to successfully defend her title on home soil in Berlin in August.

The German capital is co-hosting the first multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow and the presence of Schwanitz will only add to the noise in the Olympic Stadium.

She has been preparing for the summer campaign in Cyprus and Italy and after making a winning comeback in Halle, she will compete again in Schonebeck later this week.

Her coach Sven Lang said: “We wanted to test [her shape] in a small competition – it starts on Friday in Schonebeck.”

Not bad for a test as Schwanitz showed she hasn't lost any of presence as she aims to follow up her European glory in Zurich in 2014 and Amsterdam in 2016.

 

Polish throwers show good early season form

Poland’s Pawel Fajdek is another reigning European champion heading to Berlin and he is showing brilliant form this year.

Fajdek, who was already second on the European lists with his 79.43m set in Florida in April, extended that season’s best to 79.71m at the at the ninth edition of the Furmanek Memorial in Kielce on Saturday (12) as he beat fellow Pole Wojciech Nowicki, himself a medallist at the Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships, who was second in 76.51m.

In the women’s hammer Joanna Fiodorow, the 2014 European bronze medallist, moved to third on the European lists with 72.89m with a narrow victory over world bronze medallist Malwina Kopron, whose 72.53m moves her from eighth to fifth on this year’s lists.

This event showed the strength of the Polish throwers with Michal Haratyk winning the shot put with 21.06m. Klaudia Kardasz improved to 18.25m in the women's shot put and Polish record-holder Marcin Krukowski won the javelin with 81.82m.

Hungary’s Balazs Baji had an standout 2017 season which was capped with a bronze medal in the 110m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships in London and he will be looking to the top of the podium in Berlin.

The European silver medallist from Amsterdam raced on both days over the weekend at the East Hungarian Team Championships in Miskolc, winning the 110m hurdles in 13.61 in his season’s bow over the barriers after taking the 100m in 10.67 the day before.

At the West Hungarian Team Championships in Zalaegerszeg on Saturday, reigning European U23 champion Bence Halasz triumphed in the hammer with 76.47m.

48.99 for Lambrughi; 10.16 for Tortu in Rieti

Filippo Tortu made his season’s debut in Rieti on Sunday (13) but the top performer of the afternoon was Mario Lambrughi who went right to the top of the European lists with a lifetime best of 48.99 in the 400m hurdles.

“I do not believe it,” Lambrughi told FIDAL. “It was a beautiful day, I knew I was worth a good time after running a good 300m hurdles in Formia [35.51 on 28 April]. I wasn’t thinking about 48.99 but everything is possible.”

Lambrughi’s previous lifetime best stood at 49.35 from 2016 when he reached the semifinals at the European Championships in Amsterdam but on the basis of his early season form, the 25-year-old will surely aspire to go one step further in Berlin. He also believes that faster times are on the cards with some technical adjustments.

“I will take a while to process it; we hope to lower the time again because I nearly hit the last barrier. As for Berlin? We cross our fingers but there are good conditions to do well,” he said.

In the 100m, reigning European U20 champion Tortu opened his season with a 10.16 clocking. "Satisfied? Relatively,” he said. “I had a good time and I can be satisfied, but I had different feelings than usual, perhaps because it was the debut. I felt very good between 20 and 30 meters where I'm usually a bit lacking and maybe I paid in the last 10-15 metres.”

His next race will be in Savona on 23 May where he will face Marcell Jacobs who leads the domestic lists with a 10.12 clocking from last weekend.