Rohler and Hofmann deliver a one-two for Germany in the javelin

Thomas Rohler
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Thomas Rohler and Andreas Hofmann secured a German one-two in the javelin final at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships

It was 8.51pm, the air was cooling, there was a growing breeze, and the man waiting to throw decided it was time to hot things up once again at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.

Thomas Rohler, the Olympic champion, urged the big crowd to make even more noise on the night they have been counting down to – this potential battle between the three superstars of German javelin throwing.

The event was in the second round with Rohler's compatriot Andreas Hofmann leading with 87.60m from a few minutes earlier.

Rohler waited, holding the javelin in his left hand, swapping to his right, rocking back and then setting off on his run-up before launching it high and mighty and then watching with glee as it landed at 88.02m.

He punched the air with both hands and the crowd responded. The stage had been set for an evening where the rest had to catch up, and that included world champion Johannes Vetter, the third of the German triumvirate.

After an opening round foul, Vetter then reached 82.59m before a third round 81.51m, a stage of the competition where Hofmann fouled too.

Had gold been settled even by this point? Had one man blown the rest out of the water?

Rohler was next. He had opened with a big throw but had narrowly stepped over the line and now he was in the groove and he went even further than this his previous effort with a brilliant 89.47m.

Time seemed to stand still as the javelin hung in the air, so close to the 90m line – and just to think Rohler had needed the last of his three throws in qualifying to make it through. He was also fourth at the German Championships last month up until the sixth round of the competition.

He was having a night to remember as Hofmann fouled again in round four, as did Vetter, before the Rohler's next effort was 87.58m. Estonia's Magnus Kirt, who had recently beaten Rohler in his hometown of Jena, stayed in third after his opening 85.96m.

Hofmann then had another foul as Vetter achieved 83.27m in a fifth round where Rohler opted out with a view to keeping something back for the last round.

Vetter's final round brought him 80.01m and then it was Hofmann's last go. While he found a brilliant rhythm, it landed at 85.48m and the gold was Rohler's. And, just to provide a fitting finale, his last throw was 87.90m which would have won gold anyway.

Rohler celebrated by taking a leap into the steeplechase water jump, emerging with a big smile before being surrounded by photographers - and Berlino the Bear - as he took in this glorious moment of success as he won from Hofmann and Kirt.

Hofmann joined him for a lap of honour, the pair holding a German flag between them, as the crowd gave them a standing ovation after a competition where the Olympic champion rose again and no-one could stop him.

“This evening put my spirits so high. A European title in the javelin throw mean a lot to me. Andreas and me, we both enjoyed this night. It is amazing,” said Rohler.