International Digest — The Olympic Year Is Blossoming

With her 50-7½ in Spain, Yulimar Rojas has now twice produced the second-longest TJ ever. (JIRO MOCHIZUKI/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE INTERNATIONAL SEASON came into full flower with big meets in Ostrava and Gateshead, but smaller gatherings also provided notable performances. The best of the best as the Olympic year continues to unfold:


Big Bounces By Rojas

Already the second-longest triple jumper in history with her indoor WR of 50-7½ (15.43), Yulimar Rojas confirmed her greatness by matching that mark outdoors in Andújar, Spain. That again left her 2¾ inches (7cm) shy of Inessa Kravets’ vintage WR from the ’95 WC.

The 25-year-old Venezuelan opened with a foul, then had a modest-for-her 48-4 (14.73) on her second attempt before unleashing the big mark in round 3. The next two rounds, a 47-7 (14.50) and a foul, were nothing to write home about, but the final stanza produced the farthest backup mark ever, 50-2¾ (15.31).


Tsegay Expands Her Range To 10K

With a bronze medal from the ’19 WC and an indoor WR this winter, Gudaf Tsegay has been viewed as one of the 1500’s up-and-coming stars. But maybe the 24-year-old Ethiopian has a future at longer distances. Running in a low-key race in Maia, Portugal, her track 10K debut produced the No. 4 time in history, 29:39.42. That made her member No. 8 of the sub-30:00 club, with Kalkidan Gezahegne of Bahrain following in 29:50.77 to become the ninth. Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto won the men’s race in 27:11.01.


Vetter On A Tear In The Javelin

Johannes Vetter has picked up where he left off with the spear last year: throwing very far, already adding 4 more 300-footers (91.44) to his résumé. He opened his season back in early February with a 286-4 (87.27) heave in Offenburg. Late April, again in Offenburg brought a 300-2 (91.50) cast that was part of a nice series of 282-6, 287-4, 289-5, 289-9, 300-2, 285-10 (86.12, 87.59, 88.21, 88.32,
91.50, 87.12). Next up was the Euro Throws Cup in Split, where he opened with three straight 290-footers. That series: 298-11, 296-8, 294-0, 289-10, 276-3, 289-5 (91.12, 90.43, 89.63, 88.34, 84.20, 88.23).

The next stop was Ostrava, where he produced the No. 9 performance ever, 309-1 (94.20) as the third attempt in a series that featured 5 past the 290 line: 299-7, pass, 309-1, 290‑5, 290-3, 290-2 (91.33, p, 94.20, 88.53, 88.47, 88.45).

Just 2 days later, in Dessau, he topped out at 305-9 (93.20) in a series that had a pair of 300-footers: 287-7, 301-4, 305-9, 289-0, pass, pass (87.67, 91.86, 93.20, 88.09, p, p). “It was a pretty solid series overall, but as a precaution I decided to pass on the last two attempts. Not necessarily to preserve energy, I think I’ve shown that I’ve got enough of that at the moment with that 93-meter throw, but I didn’t want to take any risk.” Vetter now has 13 career 300-footers, second only to the 22 for WR holder Jan Železný.


Andrejczyk Big With Spear Too

Vetter wasn’t even the javelinist making the most news at the Euro Throws Cup. That honor went to Maria Andrejczyk, who moved to No. 3 on the all-time world list (with the No. 7 performance) with her huge PR of 234-3 (71.40). Her series was 234-3, pass, 214-0, 228-7, foul, 195-11 (71.40, p, 65.24, 69.68, f, 59.73).

As a 20-year-old the young Pole led the Rio qualifying round with her PR 220-2 (67.11), then finished 4th in the final. That Q-round mark stood up as her PR until her big explosion here, as she missed ’17 with shoulder surgery and also had a case of cancer in ’18 (from which she has since recovered). She hurt her Achilles early in’20, saying, “When the information came that the Olympics was postponed, I was delighted.”


A New Kenyan Marathon Name…

Titus Ekiru likes the Milan Marathon. He won the ’19 edition with a 2:04:46 that took almost 5:00 off his PR. His only race at any distance last year was a DNF in the Tokyo 26-miler. Which brings us to his first race of this year, Milan: another win, and another significant PR, 2:02:57. This one by the 29-year-old Kenyan moved him to =No. 5 on the all-time world list. Behind him, Reuben Kiprop Kipyego PRed at 2:03:55.

The women’s win went to Hiwot Gebrekidan of Ethiopia with a PR 2:19:35 that made her the 41st woman to break the 2:20 barrier.


… And A New Kenyan Track Name

You’re excused if the name Mark Lomuket doesn’t ring a bell. Before this year his 5000 best was an altitude-hindered 13:45.7 a couple of years back. But after his world-leading 13:01.68 in Bergamo, Italy, he should be on your radar, particularly because of whom he beat: WC silver medalist Selemon Barega of Ethiopia, who ran 13:02.47.