Where Your Dreams Become Reality
LetsRun.com's 2009 IAAF Berlin World Championships Preview
Men's Hammer Throw - Pars Looks For First Hole In One
By LRC Reader Jesse Squire
The year has been dominated by one name: Krisztián Pars (pictured below, right). He has never won a major championship, but did win silver at last year's Olympics (after the doping DQs of Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan). He is undefeated and has seven of the year's eight best throws. If you are playing the IAAF's Worlds fantasy game*, he's a great pick as he combines representing a small nation and being a heavy, heavy favorite.
*[editor's note: you should be playing the LRC Prediction Contest]
After him, the picture is muddled. Primo Kozmus is the defending Olympic champion, but hasn't stood out from the crowd this year. His Olympic victory wasn't a one-off success, though; he was second at the '07 Worlds, behind only busted drug cheat Tsikhan.
Based on 2009 results alone, Tajikistan's Dilshod Nazarov might be your silver medal pick, as he has placed consistently well on the IAAF's World Athletics Tour. Nazarov (who is president of his national federation) has little history of success in major meets; he's never made it to a Worlds final and took eleventh at last year's Olympics. He's had consistent improvement over the last several years (and not the eye-popping kind that makes us suspicious).
An up-and-comer is Yury Shayunou, the 2009 Universiade and a two-time European U-23 champion. He has the year's second-best mark behind Pars, and has improved significantly over the last few years. While such rapid improvement combined with being a Belarussian who avoids the major invitationals invites suspicion, he's considered a technique thrower rather than a power-based one, and I think such suspicion isn't merited.
The only other throwers who have broken the 80-meter mark in 2009 are Igors Sokolovs and Aleksey Zagornyi, neither of whom has ever made an international championship final.
What of the Americans? We have three--Tom Freeman, A.G. Kruger, and Michael Mai--but only Kruger has any real chance of making the final.
Gold - Krisztián Pars
Silver Yury Shayunou
Bronze - Primo Kozmus
Fourth Dilshod Nazarov
Thrower Stats Provided By Author Jesse Squires
Pars (HUN) 82.45 PR Silver medal at 2008 Olympics,
silver medal at 2007 Worlds, 6th at 2006 Euros, 7th at 2005 Worlds, 5th at 2004