Robert Harting ended last year as the Olympic and European discus champion. He did so after a summer where in May he had sent out a message with maximum impact.
Twelve months on he is back repeating the same story – almost to the day. Exactly a year ago German thrower Harting produced his longest effort of 2012 – infact the longest in the world all year – with 70,66m (231′ 9″) in Turnov. This time in Wiesbaden on Monday he soared to the top of the rankings again at this early stage of the summer with a throw of 68,31m (224′ 1″). Once more he is the man the others have to beat.
After his gold medal success at the World Championships in Daegu, Harting will be determined to keep hold of that crown in Moscow in 10 weeks time. He is in a remarkable vein of form as this triumph stretched his winning run to 34 meetings and 1005 days. No discus thrower has ever gone that long without losing.
But Harting, 28, is the unmovable object of the event. The world standard for the discus had been set by Australian Benn Harradine with his 68,20m (223′ 9″) in Townsville, Queensland, on May 10 and then on Saturday in Shanghai, Poland’s Piotr Malachowski moved to the top of the European Athletics rankings with 67,34m (220′ 11″). But both those lists now have Harting at the forefront after his impressive performance as he beat fellow German Martin Wierig who was second with 66,50m (218′ 2″).
Another significant factor for Harting in throwing 68,31m (224′ 1″) is that it is further than both his gold medal-winning efforts at last year’s Olympic in London and European Athletics Championships in Helsinki. Confidence is such a key element for an athlete and to know that you are on a better course than two of your biggest victories can do no harm.
As silver medallist from Barcelona in 2010, Harting went that one step higher on the podium in Helsinki by achieving gold in the fourth round with 68,30m (224′), ahead of Estonia’s Gerd Kanter who threw 66,53m (218′ 3″). Then in London he won with 68,27m (223′ 11″), from the fifth round, beating Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi who was second with 68,18m (223′ 8″).
Early days indeed, but it could be ominous days for the others.
Source: European Athletics