Maria Andrejczyk from Poland produced the standout performance of the weekend at the European Throwing Cup in Split, Croatia on Sunday (9) with an incredible first round throw of 71.40m in the javelin.
The Pole’s lifetime best and national record stood at 67.11m from the qualifying round of the 2016 Olympic Games before this afternoon but that mark was ameliorated by more than four metres with an effort which left Andrejczyk visibly shocked and her rivals incredulous.
Not only did Andrejczyk smash her lifetime best, she consigned Mariya Abakumova’s event record of 69.34m to history and became just the fifth woman in history to break the 70 metre-barrier with the current specification javelin. She almost surpassed this vaunted barrier again with her fourth effort which landed at 69.68m.
Andrejczyk was only 20 when she set her now-surpassed lifetime best of 67.11m at the 2016 Olympic Games but her budding career stalled badly after she had to undergo shoulder surgery the following season. After two or three seasons in the wilderness, Andrejczyk has suddenly installed herself as the early gold medal favourite for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I feel overwhelmed right now. I was expecting something but 71 metres? It feels great to open the season with such a result but I hope there is more to come. We still have the Olympics,” said Andrejczyk who credits her performance to being injury free and healthy.
“This is the first year since 2016 which I have prepared without any injuries or health problems. This year, I have completed each training cycle successfully and finally I’ve been able to do the hard work without any problems. I think that was the main key to achieve such a great result.”
Andrejczyk moved to third on the world all-time list behind Barbora Spotakova’s 72.28m and ex-world record-holder Osleidys Menendez from Cuba with 71.70m but despite being within one metre of world record territory, the Pole is not thinking about revising the record books.
“I don’t think right now about the world record. I think about the hard work I need to do before the Olympics,” she said. “It was a really good throw; I put my whole self into that throw but I still know I can work on the run-up. There are still things to fix so me and my coach will be working on it.”
Andrejczyk's next major competition will be the European Athletics Team Championships Super League on home soil in Silesia on 29-30 May.
Reigning European champion Christin Hussong from Germany was a distant second albeit with a creditable season’s best of 66.44m with Belarus’ Tatsiana Khaladovich, her predecessor as European champion, third with 62.88m.