Poland dominates first Cup day

An International-Israeli record marks the best result ever achieved by any athlete on Israeli soil.

lior peretz 298.88 (photo credit: Noam Kupchan)
lior peretz 298.88
(photo credit: Noam Kupchan)
The Polish national anthem became the theme song on the opening day of the Sixth European Cup for Winter Throwing at Hadar Yosef Stadium in Tel Aviv, as Polish throwers won three out of Saturday's four events - the women's hammer throw, men's discus and men's javelin. Poland's Kamila Skolimowska, the 2000 Olympic champion, captured the women's hammer throw title with an International-Israeli and European Cup-record throw of 73.32 meters. An International-Israeli record marks the best result ever achieved by any athlete on Israeli soil. Piotr Malachowski of Poland unseated the threetime defending European Cup champion, Gerd Kanter of Estonia, in the men's discus, while Igor Janik, also of Poland, took the gold in the men's javelin. The only non-Polish winner was freshly crowned world indoor champ Natallia Khoroneko of Belarus, who proved to be the best in the women's shot put. Skolimowska was extremely proud of her efforts, in part because it was the first time she had thrown in a competition this early in the year. "I've thrown for 10 years, but I've never tried to compete in March," she said. "It's an amazing situation for me today, because I threw 73 meters, which is just one down from my personal best. If I throw 73 [today], I know that at the European Championships [this summer] I can throw over 75." Skolimowska's result was the second best in the world this year. Russia's Gulfiya Khanafeyeva finished second to Skolimowska with a throw of 72.01 meters. France's Manuela Montebrun, who held the previous competition record with a 72.18-m. throw in 2003, took the bronze at 70.29. Israel's Yevgeniya Zabolotniy came in 22nd with a throw of 46.04. In the men's discus, Malachowski's 65.01-m. result was a personal best and an International-Israeli record, breaking Cuban Roberto Moya's previous record of 64.46 set in 1995. Malachowski broke Moya's record on his third throw, a toss of 64.61, and then re-set the record with his fourth throw. Spain's Mario Pestano won silver at 63.40. Kanter, who took the bronze medal, said he has been suffering from some back injuries. His throw went 62.55 meters, far less than the 65.07 he threw in January in South Africa. "The last four or five weeks I've been struggling with my back, so I didn't throw as much as I was expecting," he said. Israel's Lior Peretz and Felix Gromadskiy finished in 22nd and 23rd, respectively, of 23 competitors, with throws of 51.17 and 46.50. Janik's 81.16-m. throw saw him win the javelin, despite competing in the morning in Group B. He outshined Group A stars Vladislav Shkurlatov from Russia and Ainars Kovals from Latvia, who finished second and third, respectively, with throws of 79.27 and 78.64. Vadim Bavikin had the best Israeli placing of the day, finishing seventh at 74.5-m. Countryman Yoni Zerach finished 19th of 19 with a throw of 51.12. An International-Israeli record fell in the women's shot put as well. Khoroneko took the gold with 19.18, unseating defending European Cup champ, Olga Ryabinkina of Russia, who finished in second with 18.55. Germany's Nadine Kleinert won the bronze with a throw of 18.30, while Israel's Sivan Jean finished last among the 19 competitors with a throw of 14.86. Day Two of the competition will commence at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, with the Group B athletes taking part in women's javelin and discus; and men's shot put and hammer throw. The Group A events are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.