THROWERS IN GENERAL and javelin throwers in particular have been enjoying a bountiful 2018.
Some early highlights:
Vetter Over 300-Feet Already
Last year, Johannes Vetter stamped himself as the javelinist of the future, moving to No. 2 on the all-time list at 309-10 (94.44) and backing that up with a mark of 308-0 (93.88).
He is giving indications that this year will see more of the same, or better. He opened at 275-10 (84.08) at home in Germany, then headed to South Africa for a training stint, where his only meet resulted in a big 299-3 (91.22).
From there it was on to Portugal for the European Throws Cup, where his fifth toss was a monster 304-1 (92.70) late on a damp and windy afternoon. That’s the farthest throw ever for so early in the year.
“92,70m Rocket!” he posted on Instagram. “I’m really satisfied with the result. Was not that easy to throw.”
Big Spears For Mitchell
In a year where she’ll turn 36 in July, Kathryn Mitchell has found new life in the javelin.
Australia’s 2-time Olympic finalist came into this year with a PR of 216-11 (66.12), set last year, but on the first throw of her first meet she upped that to 218-11 (66.73) in January.
But that wasn’t remotely the end of it, as 3 weeks later she reached a new high of 221-9 (67.58). She didn’t PR the next weekend but did win the Aussie title with a cast of 214-11 (65.51).
As March dawned she reached her best of all, a 224-11 (68.57) that is the best in the world in more than 4 years and moved her to No. 7 on the all-time world list.
Her next meet brought a mild scare, though, as she reached 212-9 (64.84) at the Sydney GP, but felt foot pain and withdrew in the middle of the competition.
“It was just precautionary,’’ said national coach Craig Hilliard, who is readying his team for April’s Commonwealth Games. “There’s no point taking any chances at this late stage as she is in such great shape.’’
Super Shots By Kiwi Walsh
New Zealand’s Tom Walsh won the shot at least year’s World Championships, then added the Indoor gold this year.
The 25/26-year-old old strongman, getting an early start on his season, surrounded his undercover triumph with 5 outdoor wins Down Under, reaching 68-10½ (20.99) & 69-4¼ (21.14) in January, 71-9 (21.87) in February and 70-9¾ (21.58) in March before hosting his own “Super Shot” competition (Timaru, March 14).
His 72-4½ (22.06) handily dispatched Tim Nedow of Canada (68-1¾/20.77), Damien Birkenhead of Australia (68-1/20.75), American Ryan Whiting (67-4¾/20.54), Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards (67-2¾/20.49) and Pole Konrad Bukowiecki (66-3/20.19).
“I’ve had a great start to the year winning the World Indoors and now I’ve just got to keep it going and keep throwing 22m [c72ft],” he said.
“The World Record is 23.13m [75-10¾] and if I don’t get there soon then someone else will so that’s my goal.”
A New South African Sprint Star
Calling Clarence Munyai a newcomer to the sprint scene might be a bit misleading, since in ’17 he ran the fastest 300 ever by a Junior, 31.61. But with standard-event bests of 10.10(A) and 20.22(A) he still rated as just a promising teenager.
Now a 20-something, he’s fulfilling that promise. Just 3 days after he quit being a teenager he whacked his century PR down to 10.10(A).
But that was nothing compared to what he did at the South African Championships 3 weeks later. Sure, Pretoria’s 1315m of altitude helped somewhat, but who was ready for history’s fastest non-final ever, 19.69(A)?
Even with an 0.5 headwind he’s suddenly the No. 10 performer in history.
Munyai’s coach, Hennie Kriel, felt it best to hold his star out of a wet and cold final.
“We’d have liked him to be SA champion,” he said, “but the world has just opened up for him.
“I would have liked to see how he ran after putting up a time like that. Athletes need to get used to that kind of pressure.”
The final was won by Luxolo Adams in a PR 20.08(A). Adams came into the meet with a lifetime best of 20.45(A).