Pars defeats Kozmus in Szombathely hammer fiesta
The I. Szombathely Németh Pal Memorial was called upon to honour the memory of the great Hungarian coach, Pál Németh and indeed was a fiesta of hammer throwing.
The event is 8th in the 2009 Competition Rankings (category: Special competitions).
Organizers of the inaugural edition of the Szombathely Németh Pál Memorial International Hammer Throw competition in Szombathely, which is located in the west of Hungary, had announced a very strong field of participants.
Despite the tiredness at the end of a long season and several small injuries disturbing the best athletes, they lived up to the expectations and produced excellent competitions.
In the women’s event Tatyana Lysenko of Russia and Kathrin Klaas of Germany threw well over the 70m line several times (Lysenko five times, Klaas four times). Finally Lysenko took the event with 72.79m ahead of Klaas, whose best throw was 71.32. Slovakian World bronze medallist Martina Hrašnová finished in third (70.41). Italy’s Clarissa Claretti remained just below 70m in fourth (69.62) while seven-time Ukrainian champion Irina Sekachova was 5th (68.06).
“I wanted to throw more, but I am happy with winning this very nice competition that I fully enjoyed,” said Lysenko.
Klaas was content and unsatisfied in the same time: “Yes, I’m glad, but I wanted to win,” she said. “It was good to be here, indeed.”
“I have spent so many years in hammer throw and in most cases we don’t get much attention,” explained Claretti. “Today we were in the centre of the attention and it was so much joy. I was trying to get over 70m and I was close. I wish a great future for the event, coach Németh deserves the honour.”
Home favourite Olympic silver medallist Krisztián Pars defeated Olympic and World Champion Primož Kozmus of Slovenia in the men’s competition, in which World bronze medallist Aleksey Zagorniy of Russia was leading after the third round with 79.02.
Pars’s winning throw of 79.65m came in the fourth round. Kozmus was trying hard and he came close to Pars with his last effort, but his 79.42 was enough just for the second place. Zagorniy could not improve and finished in third. Asian Champion Ali Al-Zenkawi of Kuwait was fifth with a solid 77.95m, while German Champion Sergey Litvinov was fifth, just like in Berlin at the World Championships.
“It was tough, really tough,” commented Pars after the competition. “I was struggling with my injury, but the crowd helped me so much. Of course I am very happy for I could win the first Memorial. We must make it every year for “Pali bácsi” (as the coach was called in Hungarian).”
“I pulled my calf last year in Celje and it became even worse in Dubnica,” Kozmus explained. “I wasn’t sure that I could compete, but I wanted to support the event with my presence and honour the memory of coach Németh, who I knew very well. It was a really nice competition, we should do something like this in Slovenia, as well.”
“It was great,” said Zagorniy. “I will come every time when I get an invitation.”
“It was fantastic, I’m so glad I was here,” commented German champion Litvinov. “Pál Németh was a great coach and it was an honour to participate at the Memorial. Also, it was a pleasure for me to have met (former European Champion) Tibor Gécsek, for the first time in my life.”
The event was finished with a spectacular award ceremony in which all the participants took part and all the hammer throwers fully enjoyed the much deserved attention that they rarely get at other events.
The I. Szombathely Nemeth Pál Memorial was a success and this is proven also by its 8th position in the current Competition Rankings (category: Special competitions). It’s worth mentioning that its Promotion Score (which is based on the level of the participating athletes) is the 4th in the world.
Both the athletes and the organizers have expressed their desire to make the Szombathely Németh Pál Memorial into a traditional event. Let it be so.