Kanter splits with his coach Hafsteinsson | 25.10.2012
“I have decided to compete until Rio 2016 and have set maximum goals for this period,” commented Kanter. “It is clear that after all these years, the system needs changes. After a successful season, this is the best time to do that. I would like to thank my coach, Vésteinn, and my team leader, Raul Rebane.”
Hafsteinnsson took over the reins for the callow Estonian in December 2000 and on exactly the 100th competition under his command, Kanter threw 70.10m for a new Estonian record. Olympic and world gold medals followed as well as two European Athletic championship silvers. Kanter’s top-ten average now reads 71.38 with his personal best coming six years ago when he threw the discus 73.38 at Hafsteinsson’s base in Helsingborg.
“For both of us this is the best choice as all good things end sometime and it is time to stop now,” said Hafsteinsson. “I want to thank all the people that have worked with me through the years and the list would be too long to mention you all, but I truly thank you.
“Two names I have to mention and they are Indrek Tustit that has worked as a physical therapist/assistant coach for the last six years, great job! And last but by no means, Raul Rebane: I would not have liked to have done this without you man, you are one of a kind and I have learned more from you than anybody. Super thanks to both you guys! I wish Gerd all the best in the future with his personal life as well as his athletic career.”
It was Rebane, a former Estonian television journalist, who has to take the credit for discovering Kanter. On his way to see 2000 Olympic Decathlon champion, Erki Nool, in action in a minor meet, Rebane’s attention was drawn to Kanter: “His technique was a nightmare, but he was very fast in the circle. It was clear he could be something very special,” recalled Rebane.
Still nothing happened until Rebane met Kanter by chance in the street in Tallinn and asked him who was coaching him. “Myself” came the reply and that was when Rebane contacted former Icelandic discus thrower, Hafsteinnsson, and asked him if he would hone the rough diamond.
Rebane was the overall winner of the 2010 European Athletics Innovation Awards for his project, entitled “The Social Role of an Athlete”.
So in December 2000 at the age of 21, Kanter embarked on a plane for the first time in his life to visit Hafsteinnsson at his training centre in Helsingborg, Sweden, for a test. Almost immediately a call came through to Rebane: “This is a damn serious thing,” said Hafsteinnsson. “I’ll take him.”
This season Kanter has enjoyed typical consistency, winning 12 competitions and never out of the top three in the rest, including the London Olympics where he collected bronze with a season’s best 68.03 giving the 33 year old his eighth major medal. Not bad for a boy whose first discus only went out to 31.95m.