Nafissatou Thiam might not be defending her crown in Gotzis this weekend but she has nonetheless sent out an impressive message of intent in this IAAF World Championship year.
Belgium's Olympic, world and European champion was forced to miss the winter’s major events after suffering from a calf injury during a training camp in South Africa but she is expected to return to heptathlon action in Talence at the end of June.
Not only is she back, she is back in record-breaking form as she demonstrated at the Belgian Inter-Club Championships in Gaurain-Ramecroix on Saturday (18) when she broke her two-year-old 200m personal best with a time of 24.37 into a significant headwind of 1.5 m/s.
The mark replaced her 24.40 which she had clocked when winning in Gotzis in 2017, an event in which she has triumphed the previous two years. It was back in 2017 when Thiam eclipsed the 7000-point barrier in Gotzis, becoming just the fourth woman to do so.
Having won gold in each of the previous three summers, Thiam will seek a new landmark for herself in Doha where she will look to join Sweden's Carolina Kluft and Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill as the only women to retain the world heptathlon crown.
Thiam was in overall good form on Saturday as also she achieved 52.71m in the javelin and was part of the successful 4x100m team which triumphed in 47.97.
Dutch and Spanish javelin records revised; Tavernier scales French hammer record
As Lisanne Schol prepared for her second round throw at the Ter Specke Bokaal meeting in Lisse on Saturday, the Dutchwoman could not have known history was so close.
But with a brilliant effort of 60.83m, Schol became the first Dutch athlete to break the 60m barrier as she beat Bregje Crolla’s 2010 mark of 59.27m.
"Finally. Quite a relief. I am finally fit enough to handle it physically,” Schol told the Telegraaf. “After 2011, when I threw 57.50m, I always had to deal with injuries, and last winter it went well for the first time.”
She was not the only athlete delivering a significant national javelin record this weekend.
— atletismoRFEA (@atletismoRFEA) May 18, 2019
Less than two months out from the Gavle 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships, Spain’s Manu Quijera added nearly four metres to his lifetime best to move to second on the 2019 European U23 list.
The 21-year-old wrote his way into history by breaking the Spanish javelin record with 81.31m at an international throws match in Madrid on Saturday.
It was an improvement of nearly four metres on his previous best of 77.67m and overtook the previous Spanish record of 80.64m which Odei Jainaga threw in 2018 and will make Quijera one of the favourites for the title in Gavle in July.
Quijera also gets the family bragging rights as his brother Nico is also an 80-metre thrower having finished, the 2018 Mediterranean Games champion having thrown 80.21m last year.
The highlight of the French Inter-Clubs in Montbeliard on Sunday (19) was European silver medallist Alexandra Tavernier reaching out to 74.01m - less than a metre outside of her French record of 74.78m which she set to win silver at the European Championships.
There were also good performances in the hammer in Szombathely, Hungary as European U23 champion Bence Halasz won the men’s event with 75.33m and Reka Gyuratz won the women’s event with 70.85m.