Trends in hammer-throwing for Munich
Over the past few days the athletics circus has reached Europe. The Grand-Prix meetings in Hengelo and Seville were noted in the diaries; some of the top athletes also met in Italy for contests held in Turin and Milan while the German aces were forced to show their true colours for the first time at the Sparkassen German Athletic Association Meeting (DLV) in Dortmund. First trends already emerged as regards the European Athletics Championships in Munich (6 to 11 August), particularly in one discipline: hammer-throwing.
More medal hopefuls must be taken into consideration however, for it is generally known that the Eastern Europeans in particular are always a force to be reckoned with. The Russian, Alexej Zagornyi, or the Ukrainians Andrej Skvaruk and Vladislav Piskunov are currently the top three in the European annual list of the best and especially the condition of the Olympic champion Szymon Ziolkowski from Poland is improving. With a distance of 79.47 metres he approached the 80 metres mark in Dortmund and no doubt will break it soon.
Polish candidates are hardly ever on their own. At least that was the case in Sydney where Kamila Skolimovska too won gold in hammer-throwing. Once again, the 19-year-old is a contestant to be reckoned with this year. Last Saturday she attained a new national record in Bydgoszcz with a distance of 72.60 metres and thus also holds this year's title in the list of the world's best athletes. With 70.91 metres Manuela Montebrun from France has also already surpassed the seventy metre mark this summer, as has the White Russian Olga Tsander who also succeeded in raising the national record to 70.11 metres.
Germany's best athlete in this sport, Susanne Keil from LG Eintracht Frankfurt also improved on her own previous result last weekend. She made use of the European Championship Qualifying and Run-up Competition in Leichlingen to reach a distance of 67.43 metres. Incidentally, this result would have been sufficient to secure a place among the first six at the last two major events, the Olympic Games in Sydney and the World Championships in Edmonton.
Week by week, day by day, the European Championships in Munich are getting closer and the next near and far duels of the men's and women's hammer throwers are on the way.
The European medal cake will, however, only be distributed between the 6 and 11 August in the Munich Olympia Stadium. And who is going to get the biggest piece; only the future can tell! Hammer-throwing has always been a discipline full of surprises – for example, two years ago in Sydney when hardly anyone expected Skolimovska und Ziolkowski to win gold. However, one man does not intend to be taken by surprise. That man is Karsten Kobs from TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen who is well on his way to continuing his world champion performance of 1999.