Wlodarczyk hammers home a world record

Wlodarczyk hammers home a world record
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Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk once more showed she's the world's best hammer thrower as she improved her own world record to 82.29m for gold.

Anita Wlodarczyk took her hammer world record to a stunning 82.29m in Rio today as she became the Olympic champion with the golden touch.

Winning this title for the first time, the brilliant Polish star rubber-stamped everything the sport knew anyway - that there has never been anyone like her.

When she became the first - and still only - woman to break the elusive 80m barrier last summer with 81.08m, she always promised there would be more to come.

And so, on this fourth day of the track and field programme in Brazil, Wlodarczyk, 31, was true to her word, winning gold ahead of China’s Wenxiu Zhang (76.75m) and in third, Great Britain’s Sophie Hitchon, who broke her national record with her final round effort of 74.54m, to take bronze ahead of Germany’s Betty Heidler.

It was another memorable day for Wlodarczyk, though she did not give much away with her opening effort of 76.35m. She was just warming up and it was not long before her rivals were shown the form she was in.

In the second round, she reached 80.40m which was an Olympic record in itself before the history-making moment with her third round 82.29m.

It was close to throwing perfection, and as she swung around four times and unleashed the device, she knew it was something out of this world.

She was punching the air and celebrating as the hammer flew through the air and she left the ring with a smile as the scoreboard flashed her brilliant distance.

Her fourth go was a foul, which was probably no surprise such was the adrenaline running through Wlodarczyk, before she returned for an amazing fifth round of 81.74m, the second longest throw in history, before ending with 79.60m.

Wlodarczyk is now unbeaten in 29 competitions, last month she completed a hat-trick of European titles and last year she won the world title for the second time.

She was the silver medallist in London four years ago and in the past two years has produced the nine leading throws of all-time.

But with the pressure of wanting Olympic gold so much, to break the world record in doing so shows what a performer she truly is.

It was a competition which Hitchon, 25, will also never forget as she extended her British best from 73.86m to 74.54m.

After finishing fifth in the 100m final, Dutch superstar Dafne Schippers could breathe easy again as she qualified for the semi-finals of the 200m by winning in 22.51 before revealing the stress she has been going through.

The world 200m champion has been battling a leg muscle problem and told Reuters: "Last Wednesday I was ready to go home because of the injury. All I could do was to run and have treatment. I was very disappointed that I wasn't able to show what I am capable of doing (in the 100m).

"I was broken. I didn't come here to finish fifth. I am glad it went so well in the 200. I now have the chance to show what I am capable of doing."

Britain’s newly-crowned European champion Dina Asher-Smith progressed by finishing second in her heat (22.77) behind Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare (22.71).

And in the men’s triple jump Portugal’s Nelson Evora, the 2008 Olympic champion, reached the final with a season’s best 16.99m. There he will be joined by fellow Europeans Karol Hoffmann, of Poland, who jumped 16.79m a month after winning European silver, and France’s 2014 European champion Benjamin Compaoré, with 16.72m.