Harting takes up his pitchfork | 01.09.2012
|"I cannot lose here, it is just not on," said Robert
Harting of Germany at the official press conference
on the eve of the ISTAF meeting in Berlin.
"I cannot lose here, it is just not on," he told the ISTAF Friday press conference. "When your own house is threatened, you stand at the door in your boxer shorts and with pitchfork in hand defend it."
There would not be too many takers that would attempt to break in under those circumstances. After an Olympic and two world titles, Harting is nearly unbeatable right now and fully intends to maintain his win-streak of 32 finals.
In truth he should not have too much difficulty in winning. His closest competitor on paper is now 40 years of age, Virgilius Alekna of Lithuania. Despite the fact that Alekna has gone over 70m this season, he was only fourth in London and sixth last year in Daegu.
Harting might have more problems dealing with younger fellow-German Martin Wierig who has thrown a personal best 68.33 this year, not to mention the 2010 European champion, Piotr Malachowski of Poland.
"Everybody wants to beat me," reflected Harting, "because it hurts more to lose in your own back yard."
But he did give a hint that maybe his post-Olympic form may have suffered because of all the media interest in him: "It is not possible to train professionally when there so many demands made on the press side."
The heavyweights are also out in force in the men's shot put with all three Olympic medallists ready to slug it out again: double gold medallist Tomasz Majewski of Poland, silver medallist David Storl of Germany who is still carrying a calf injury from London and bronze medallist from the USA, Reese Hoffa, who won in Zurich on Thursday.
On the women's side, all three Olympic medallists go in the hammer with champion, Tatayana Lysenko of Russia up against Germany's bronze medallist and world record holder, Betty Heidler. This time last year in this meeting Heidler beat world champion Lysenko in a rematch and she will be looking to repeat the dosage on Sunday. But both will need to be on their mettle against Poland's Olympic silver medallist, Anita Wlodarczyk, who had a huge throw in London that would have given her gold had it not landed outside the sector.
The top three from the javelin are also in place with Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic having to fend off Germany's silver and bronze medallists, Christina Obergfoell and Linda Stahl.