Robert Harting Leads Battle Of Discus Gold Medalists At Pre Classic

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Press Release
May 1, 2013

Eugene, Oregon – Robert Harting knows how to win. The German discus star’s last loss dates back all the way to early August of 2010, and his winning streak has grown to an daunting 33 meets, including gold medals at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympic Games.

A colorful character who likes to celebrate his big golds by ripping off his jersey and throwing it to the crowd, the 28-year-old  has also compiled one of history’s best stretches in the event – last year’s No. 1 world ranking by Track & Field News was his fourth consecutive.  No one has ever won five in a row.

One thing Harting has not done is win a Diamond League title, and defending his Pre Classic title will be no easy feat. The field is stunning—so complete that every medalist from the Olympics and World Championships since 2008 is included, plus every No. 1-ranked athlete by T&FN since 2003.  Every previous Diamond League winner is confirmed, and the seven-man field is comprised of the Top 7 from last year’s T&FN world rankings.  Each was a finalist in London.

Harting has not yet won a Diamond League title, but Gerd Kanter of Estonia,Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania, and Piotr Malachowski of Poland have.  They are members of their own club, the only Diamond League winners in the event.

Kanter, who will be 34 by Pre Classic meet time, was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN.  The 2008 Olympic gold medalist, he has ranked among the top three in the world for the last eight years.

Alekna is 41 but still looking for more glory.  Winner of a pair a of Olympic golds in 2000 and 2004, he is part of a select group – led by legendary 4-time winner Al Oerter – to win at least two.  He also owns gold from the 2003 and 2005 World Championships and has been ranked among the Top 5 in the world by T&FN for 16 of the last 17 years.

Malachowski, relatively young at 29 in men’s discus years, has earned silver medals at the Olympics and World Championships.  He has been ranked among the Top 5 in the world by T&FN in each of the last 6 years.

London silver medalist Ehsan Hadadi of Iran will make his first-ever appearance in Eugene.  The bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Hadadi was ranked No. 3 in the world last year by T&FN.  Also confirmed and in the Pre Classic for the first time are Germany’s 25-year-old Martin Wierig and Spain’s Frank Casanas, 35.  The pair finished 6th and 7th in the London Olympics.

This field is without question the best ever assembled on American soil since the 1996 Olympic Games.

Men’s Discus Throw Personal Best
Virgilijus Alekna (Lithuania) 242-5 (73.88)
Gerd Kanter (Estonia) 240-9 (73.38)
Robert Harting (Germany) 231-10 (70.66)
Piotr Malachowski (Poland) 229-1 (69.83)
Ehsan Hadadi (Iran) 227-5 (69.32)
Martin Wierig (Germany) 224-2 (68.33)
Frank Casanas (Spain) 222-9 (67.91)

The women’s javelin throw on Friday evening, May 31st, will be led by reigning world champion Mariya Abakamova. The Russian star, the second longest thrower in history, will get stiff competition from Germany’s Christina Obergfoll and South Africa’sSunette Viljoen.

Obergfoll – the London silver medalist and reigning Pre Classic champion  – was ranked No. 1 in the world in 2011 by T&FN.  Viljoen was ranked No. 2, and took bronze in the 2011 World Championships.

Also throwing will be a pair of Olympic finalists and national record holders inMartina Ratej of Slovenia and Madara Palameika of Latvia.  Add to that group Ukraine record holder Vira RebrykKimberley Mickle of Australia, and 2-time NCAA championBrittany Borman, formerly of Oklahoma, who won the Olympic Trials at Hayward Field last year.

The Pre Classic, like all meets around the world, is without one of the event’s best ever, as WR holder/Olympic gold medalist Barbora Spotakova is on maternity leave. The Czech Republic star is due to deliver this summer and plans to return to action in 2014.

Women’s Javelin Throw Personal Best
Mariya Abakumova (Russia) 236-2 (71.92)
Christina Obergfoll (Germany) 230-4 (70.20)
Sunette Viljoen (South Africa) 227-6 (69.35)
Martina Ratej (Slovenia) 220-4 (67.16)
Vira Rebryk (Ukraine) 219-4 (66.84)
Madara Palameika (Latvia) 211-7 (64.51)
Kimberley Mickle (Australia) 210-4 (64.12)
Brittany Borman (USA) 201-9 (61.51)

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