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Kopron defeats Wlodarczyk in the hammer at the European Throwing Cup

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As predicted, there was a Polish winner in the women’s hammer on the second day of the European Throwing Cup in Split, Croatia on Sunday (9) but on this occasion Malwina Kopron had the beating of her more illustrious compatriot Anita Wlodarczyk.

Still in the very early stages of her comeback after knee surgery, Wlodarczyk assumed an early lead with 72.37m in the second round but Kopron responded in the fourth round with 72.82m to usurp the world record-holder. Neither athlete improved with their remaining throws.

“I feel really good but I’m tired. The competition was more than two hours long. I’m tired but I’m really proud of myself,” said Kopron, who won a bronze medal behind Wlodarczyk at the World Athletics Championships in 2017.

She added: “Today my technique wasn’t too good. In training I had better results and I thought I would maybe throw 75 metres. It’s my first competition though and I hope for better results in Ostrava.”

Wlodarczyk will also compete in Ostrava on 19 May and the standard bearer of the event for more than a decade now is pleased with how her comeback is gathering pace on the path to a possible third Olympic gold medal in Tokyo this summer.

“I am coming back onto the circuit after two long years which were very tough and painful for me. If someone told me at the time I will come back like this, I would hardly believe it! But now I am sure it is possible. The most important thing is that I feel good in training,” said Wlodarczyk, a winner of the European Throwing Cup in 2008 and 2009.

“We have planned everything towards Tokyo where I want to fight for my third gold like Barbora Špotáková. I believe I can still throw far. It was very emotional to come back to Split after 13 years when I won with 71.84m. Of course it is harder to motivate yourself because I miss the crowd like in Beijing or so but we have to enjoy all my competitions.”

European leader Alexandra Tavernier from France finished third with 70.55m while reigning champion Hanna Malyshik from Belarus had to relinquish her title in fourth with 70.42m.

There was movement in the standings in the last round of the discus as Hungary’s Janos Huszak extinguished the prospect of a rare Icelandic victory at the European Throwing Cup by reaching out to 65.35m on his sixth attempt. 

This mark comfortably bettered the lead which had been held by Iceland’s Guoni Valur Gudnason since the second round with 63.66m. And while pleased to come away with the victory, the Hungarian was disappointed to narrowly miss the Olympic qualifying standard of 66.00m.

“Coming here, my aim was to throw 66 metres. But it is just the start of the season and I think I can add some distance at the next competition. The victory is a nice stepping stone towards this season,” he said.

Eleventh after five throws, Czech Republic’s Marek Barta slingshotted himself up to third in the overall standings with his sixth round throw of 63.33m to overtake the likes of Germany’s David Wrobel and reigning champion Philip Milanov who were fourth and fifth respectively.

The women’s discus was the last event to be showcased and it also reached a dramatic conclusion. Liliana Ca supplanted Germany's Shanice Craft with her sixth round throw of 62.80m although there was very nearly another twist in the plot as her compatriot Ines Rodrigues came within one centimetre of Ca to ensure a Portuguese one-two in the event. Craft had to settle for third with 62.05m.

Another outstanding result came from Serbia’s Adriana Vilagos who won the U23 women’s javelin by more than four metres with 60.22m at the age of 17. Not only was Vilagos making her international debut, she was competing against throwers more than five years her senior.

“I am so happy,” said the former handball player. “My goal for this competition was to throw over 58 metres so I’m so happy to throw over 60 metres. I didn’t expect to be first.”

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