Iako se najavljivao spektakl, nitko nije očekivao da ćemo na 2. Memorijalu Ivana Ivančića gledati najjače natjecanje u bacanju kugle u posljednjih nekoliko godina. A, usprkos prohladnom i kišovitom vremenu vidjeli smo pokraj zagrebačkih fontana upravo takvo natjecanje!
Pobijedio je olimpijski pobjednik iz Rio da Janeira Ryan Crouser s novim rekordom mitinga – 22.28, čime je za šest centimetara popravio šest godina stari rekord svog sunarodnjaka Christiana Cantwella. Drugi je s novim rekordom Oceanije bio pobjednik ovogodišnje Dijamantne lige i dvostruki pobjednik zagrebačkog mitinga Tom Walsh, koji je kuglu bacio 22.21.
Ni na jednom natjecanju ove godine nismo vidjeli dva hica preko 22.20, a trebalo bi otići više godina u povijest da bismo saznali kad se to posljednji put dogodilo. Taj su podatak pronašli statističari IAAF-a: zadnji put se to dogodilo još 1988. godine!!
„Nisam nikad bacao po ovako hladnom vremenu i nisam vjerovao da će kugla letjeti ovako daleko. No, bio je to hitac tehnički bolji nego onaj s kojim sam osvojio zlato u Riju. Zapravo, mislim da je to bio tehnički najbolji hitac u mojem životu! Bilo je to vrlo zabavno natjecanje, hvala Zagrebu i Zagrepčanima što su mi omogućili natjecanje u ovakvom ozračju“, rekao je oduševljeni Crouser i dodao:
„Sad idem sa Stipom na vašu obalu, a onda konačno kući. No, već se veselim sljedećoj sezoni i izazovima koje ona nosi. Cilj mi je baciti kuglu 23 metra. Vidimo se svakako i dogodine!“
Posljednji put u velikoj karijeri kuglun je upravo u Zagrebu bacio dvostruki olimpijski pobjednik Tomasz Majewski koji je tom prigodom od gradonačelnika Milana Bandića dobio prigodni zlatnik, Monografiju grada Zagreba i šestinski kišobran.
Ryan Crouser prevailed in an eagerly anticipated reunion of the Rio Olympic medallists as the 66th edition of the Hanzekovic Memorial IAAF World Challenge Meeting got underway with a festive shot put-only competition in the City Fountains Park in Central Zagreb on Monday (5).
After a pair of narrow back-to-back defeats to New Zealand’s Tom Walsh over the past nine days, the Olympic champion turned the tables with a 22.28m victory in this attractive amphitheatre style setting, the second farthest throw of his career.
“Every time I throw against Tom and Joe (Kovacs) it’s a great competition, they’re awesome throwers, so I knew it would probably take 22 metres to win,” said Crouser, whose victory in the Croatian capital was his fourth 22-metre competition.
After a low-key opening round, Darrell Hill of the US set the tone in round two with 21.44m effort, the second best throw of his career, to take the lead.
Spurred on by the enthusiastic crowd, Walsh took over in round three with 21.56m, but his lead would also be short-lived. Crouser, ignoring the steady drizzle, moved up from fourth position to take command in the fourth round with a 21.95m toss, threatening the 22-metre line for the fourth straight competition.
Walsh responded with a 21.87m to close out the round, but Crouser wasn’t done. His fifth effort sailed through the early evening sky and landed at 22.28m, a toss that added six centimetres to the meeting record set by Christian Cantwell in 2010.
Walsh responded with his third Oceania record in nine days but this time, unlike his 22.00m and 22.20m throws in Paris and Zurich, his 22.21m career best in Zagreb wasn’t enough to supplant Crouser.
The American ended the competition with a 21.67m throw in round six to seal his first victory since his triumph in Rio 18 days ago.
“Today’s throw technically was probably better than my throw in Rio, I’m just not quite in as good of shape,” said Crouser, who’ll end his season at the DecaNations meeting in Marseille on 13 September. “I’ve only lifted once since Rio. I’m not the strongest guy so my strength is definitely down. But technically I’m in the best shape of my life.”
At the beginning of the year,” he continued, “I could never expect that the season would go as good as it has. It will be an interesting time this off season when I go back to rebuilding and start setting my goals for next year.”
And those are?
“The next step I think is 23 metres. Hopefully — no guarantees, but I like to set my goals and post them where I can see them — on the bathroom mirror. This year’s was 22.20 and I managed to get that a few times.”
Hill held on for third with Congo’s Frank Elemba, fourth in Rio, repeating that finish here with 20.89m. Kovacs, the Olympic silver medallist, was fifth at 20.42m.
Two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski of Poland chose to wind down his career in the intimate Zagreb venue. The 35-year-old, who was seventh at 20.24m, was appreciative of the attention, reception and spotlight he was given as he prepared for his final throw.
What’s next for Majewski? “I’m just going to enjoy my life for a while,” he said, smiling widely.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
REZULTATI BACANJA KUGLE:
- Ryan Crouser (SAD) 22.28 (rekord mitinga)
- Tom Walsh (NZ) 22.21 (rekord Oceanije)
- Darrell Hill (SAD) 21.44
- Frank Elemba (Kon) 20.89
- Joe Kovacs (SAD) 20.42
- Asmir Kolašinac (Srb) 20.42
- Tomasz Majewski (Polj) 20.24
- STIPE ŽUNIĆ (HRV) 19.99