Kanter joins the '300 Club'

Kanter joins the '300 Club'
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Estonia's Gerd Kanter joined an elite group of discus throwers having reached 60 metres at 300 meetings or more.

How fitting in this week of the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tallinn that one of Estonia’s greatest athletics sons should reach a landmark of his own.

But Gerd Kanter, 36, did just that on Tuesday at the 5th Istvan Gyulai Memorial in Szekesfehervar when he became only the eighth discus thrower in history to go over 60m at 300 meetings or more.

Rarely can finishing fifth in an event have made its way into the athletics record books but that was very much the case for the 36-year-old Kanter who had a best throw of 62.12m, a fourth round effort in a series made up of 59.27m, 61.39m, 61.69m, 61.30m and 61.29m.

It is a brilliant achievement over 14 years of competitions where he has taken part in an average of 20-27 events per season.

Top of the ‘300 club’ list is Sweden’s Rickard Bruch, the 1972 Olympic silver medallist, who broke 60m at 456 meetings between 1968 and 1986.

Born in Tallinn, it was in the Estonian capital where Kanter first achieved that mark on August 15 2001.

A month earlier he was fifth at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Amsterdam and if the youngsters at this week’s event at the Kadriorg Stadium needed any inspiration, Kanter is a brilliant example.

He progressed to become Olympic champion in Beijing in 2008, 12 months after winning world championship gold in Osaka and he is a three-times silver medallist at the European Athletics Championships - including Zurich last summer.

Never mind his age, his desire for success has not waned as he proved at the Letzigrund Stadium where he was second with 64.75m as Germany’s Robert Harting won gold with 66.07m.

A few weeks later, representing Team Europe, Kanter became the IAAF Continental Cup champion in Marrakech with a throw of 64.46m.

The story then moves to last Tuesday and the European Athletics Outdoor Classic meeting which was won by Poland’s Piotr Malachowski with 65.17m who is 21st on the ‘300’ list with 189 meetings.

Next target for Kanter is American John Powell with 314 and who’s to say he will not catch him, such is his ability to remain among the best discus throwers the sport has ever seen.

Kanter has most commonly thrown over 60m in Estonia, where he has hit that mark 110 times, and 48 of them in Tallinn, with 27 of them in Sweden and 19 in the USA.

And in those 300 meetings, on 14 occasions he was over 70m with his personal best being 73.38m from Helsingborg, Sweden, on September 4, 2006.

THE ‘300’ CLUB

1. Rickard Bruch (SWE), 456 meetings (1968-1986)

2. Ludvik Danek (CZE), 374 (1963-1980)

3. Jurgen Schult (GER), 332 (1980-2002)

4. Mac Wilkins (USA), 328 (1973-1984,1986-1989)

5. Imrich Bugar (CZE), 323 (1977-1994)

6. Virgilijus Alekna (LTU), 316 (1992-2015)

7. John Powell (USA), 314 (1970-1977, 1979-1989)

8. Gerd Kanter (EST), 300 (2001-2015)