Johannes Vetter has been on the cusp of breaking into 90 metre-plus territory all season and the Olympic fourth-placer did so in the most emphatic style on a cool and damp evening at the Spitzen Leichtathletik Luzern meeting on Tuesday (11).
The conditions might have pegged back some of the times on the track but they didn’t prove anything of a hindrance to Vetter, who produced one of the greatest series of throws in the history of the event. He started with 90.75m to became only the 16th thrower to surpass the 90m line but Vetter was only just getting warmed up. He improved to 91.06m in the second round and then to 93.06m in the third round.
But his best throw came in round four when he sent the spear flying out to 94.44m, beyond Thomas Rohler’s world-lead and German record of 93.90m set in the Doha Diamond League in May and up to second on the world all-time lists behind Jan Zelezny.
“I had a lot of adrenaline after the first two attempts. The first throw over 90 metres pushed me. I achieved my goal of this season and set the German record. I am without words. It’s incredible that I produced four throws over 90 metres two days after winning the German title,” he told the IAAF after the event.
Rohler was also in the competition in Luzern and even though he was still in fine form with 89.45m - the sixth best throw of his career - he was a mere spectator on this occasion as Vetter produced the five best throws of the competition, concluding with 89.50m in the fifth round. "When over 89m becomes average, something crazy good is going on!" Rohler joked on his Facebook page.
With less than a month until the World Championships begin in London, Vetter is closing the head-to-head on Rohler. They have faced each other nine times this season with Rohler leading the series 5-4 but Vetter handed Rohler his second defeat in the space of two days after beating him for the German title in Erfurt on Sunday, 89.35m to 85.24m.
There was also a German win in the women’s javelin as European U23 champion Christin Hussong produced by far her best throw of the season of 64.18m to defeat Australia’s Kathryn Mitchell (61.44m) and Latvia’s Lina Muze (59.64m).
Mixed fortunes for Swiss stars
Petra Fontanive exited in the semifinal stage at the last World Championships in Beijing but the 28-year-old looks poised to go one step further next month as she maintained her unbeaten streak with victory over a top-class international field.
Fontanive produced arguably the biggest win of her career to date as she stopped the clock at 54.74 to defeat in-form Janieve Russell from Jamaica - a winner in the London Diamond League on Sunday afternoon - by 0.39, with world bronze medallist Cassandra Tate a distant fifth in 56.49.
Lea Sprunger has been in excellent form in the 400m and 400m hurdles this year but she demonstrated her versatility by winning the 200m in Luzern in a season’s best of 22.97 with Mujinga Kambundji third in 23.05.
Kariem Hussein produced an excellent win on home soil in the Lausanne Diamond League last week but the former European 400m hurdles champion had to settle for sixth in 49.79 in a race won by USA’s Quincy Downing in 48.85.
Nicole Buchler cleared a season’s best of 4.73m in the London Diamond League but two days later, the Swiss record-holder could only clear her opening height of 4.40m to finish second to Olga Mullina who cleared 4.62m to win by two clear heights.