Vetter triumphs in Chorzow as Polish greats bow out

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Johannes Vetter couldn’t quite rekindle the 95 metre-plus form he produced on his last two visits to the Silesian Stadium but the German still produced one of the highlights of the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Chorzow on Sunday (5), a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting.

Vetter recorded three valid throws yesterday, all of which would have been sufficient for victory over reigning world champion Anderson Peters from Grenada. After opening his account with 87.84, Vetter peppered the 90 metre-line in the second round with 89.60m before propelling the javelin to 87.35m with his third attempt.

Vetter recorded a foul on his fourth attempt before foregoing his last two throws. But there weren’t any significant changes in the order in the last two rounds and the 2017 world champion won by almost six metres from the current world champion with 83.61m.

The discus was another focus of attention in Chorzow as Piotr Malachowski ended his venerable career in front of a crowd of over 30,000 spectators. And the Pole had the stage all to himself when he took to the circle for the very last time in the sixth round when he produced his best throw of the afternoon with 62.29m to finish fourth behind Slovenia’s Kristjan Ceh with 66.65m.

In a passing of the torch, Malachowski was accompanied on the in-field by his seven-year-old son Henryk who took the first throws of his nascent career on the same afternoon his father bowed out of the sport with European and world titles to his name.


“During Kamila’s memorial, who was my friend, I would like to say goodbye to the fans. I will take the last throw, Henryk will be the first. I hope that he will also catch the sports bug, because he knows how much sport gave his father,” said Malachowski ahead of the event. 

In a special ceremony to celebrate his career, Malachowski was joined on the stage by his long-time rival and great friend Robert Harting from Germany who memorably pipped Malachowski to the world title at the 2009 World Championships in the last round.

Two other stalwarts of Polish athletics also bade farewell to the sport in front of their home fans. World hammer silver medallist Joanna Fiodorow finished third in the hammer with 68.56m before saluting all four ends of the arena and former world indoor champion Kamila Licwinko drew her career to a close with a third place finish in the high jump with 1.91m. 

There were two notable performances on the track for Polish athletes at the very start of their careers. Natalia Kaczmarek won the 400m in a lifetime best of 50.70 ahead of teammate Anna Kielbasinska in 51.19 and 18-year-old Kacper Lewalski produced an incredible last 150 metres to finish second in the 800m in a lifetime best of 1:44.84 behind Kenya’s Wycliffe Kinyamal in 1:44.63.

From an international standpoint, the highlight of the afternoon was Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce winning the 100m in 10.81. Her time was the fastest ever recorded on Polish soil, eclipsing Ewa Kasprzyk’s previous mark of 10.93 from 1986.

Full results here.

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