Germany’s Johannes Vetter continued his spectacular start to the season with another phenomenal series of throws on the first day of the European Throwing Cup in Split, Croatia on Saturday (8).
Vetter surpassed the 90 metre-line with his very first throw of the competition which gave rise to further speculation that the 2017 world champion might threaten his world lead of 91.50m and quite possibly his event record of 92.70m.
And even though Vetter did not improve on his opening throw of 91.12m, the German produced six valid throws which averaged out at 88.66m - a distance nobody else has surpassed thus far in 2021. He also surpassed the 90 metre-line with his second attempt at 90.43m to duly accomplish the pre-competition goal set by his coach Boris Obergfoll.
“I felt good today,” said Vetter. “It was quite tough because the runway was too soft for my speed and bodyweight. It was a little bit slippery and the wind was not that good but I asked my coach at the beginning of the week what the goal should be for the week: he told me two times over 90 metres so I think I did a good job.”
Johannes Vetter ???????? produced another exceptional series in the javelin on day one of the European Throwing Cup!— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) May 8, 2021
Average distance: 88.66m. ????#Split2021 pic.twitter.com/i2Kniu3Su1
Vetter’s next competition will be the Ostrava Golden Spike on 19 May when he will look to continue to ride his fine early season momentum.
“I just try to keep myself relaxed, I just want to improve from competition to competition and I think I did a good next step today. My next competition is in Ostrava so hopefully I can improve there. The plan is to continue to improve through until the Olympic Games so let’s see how it goes,” said Vetter.
And while the javelin was very much a one-man show with Vetter the leading protagonist, there were some good throws behind the German. Moldova’s Andrian Mardare improved his national record to 86.66m in the third round - a mark only surpassed by Vetter in European Throwing Cup history.
"We are very satisfied because this is a qualifying for the Olympic Games,” said Mardare. "Over 85 metres was our goal with my coach [Valeriu Lungu] and we hope to repeat this all season."
The first German victory of the day in the senior events came from former heptathlete Sara Gambetta who set an outright lifetime best of 18.86m in the third round of the shot put which was staged in the dramatic setting of the city’s Amphitheatre which dates back to the second century.
Gambetta was almost eclipsed in the sixth round by a last ditch effort from the tall Belarusian Aliona Dubitskaya but pleasingly for the German, her mark landed seven centimetres short of Gambetta’s mark at 18.79m.
“I feel very happy. We worked a lot on the technique in the last few weeks and I’m so happy I could achieve the Olympic standard as well,” said Gambetta. “It’s a nice place to have a competition. For us, we always have some special places because we don’t need the stadium so I like it and I like the weather. It’s perfect!"
With home favourite Filip Mihaljevic a late withdrawal from the shot put, Romania's Andrei Toader won the senior title with a lifetime best of 20.83m ahead of Portugal's Francisco Belo (20.47m) and Turkish veteran Esref Apak, 39, clinched the victory in the hammer with 75.99m ahead of Great Britain's Chris Bennett with 75.36m.
On his season's debut, four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek from Poland had to settle for fourth with 74.48m.