Wlodarczyk hammers the opposition

Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk rewrote her own world record in the hammer throw with a distance of 82.29m. Having settled for silver at the 2012 Olympics, she came to Rio with a 28-meet unbeaten streak that began in 2014.
Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk rewrote her own world record in the hammer throw with a distance of 82.29m. Having settled for silver at the 2012 Olympics, she came to Rio with a 28-meet unbeaten streak that began in 2014.

RIO DE JANEIRO • Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk smashed her own world record while winning the women's hammer throw on Monday - four years after being denied gold by Russian dope cheat Tatyana Lysenko.

Wlodarczyk heaved a monumental 82.29m on her third attempt to crush the competition on a sweltering day at Rio's Olympic Stadium.

Zhang Wenxiu of China took the silver with a throw of 76.75m while Britain's Sophie Hitchon claimed the bronze with 74.54m.

Wlodarczyk's winning effort was more than one metre further than her own previous world record of 81.08m set last year. With her fifth attempt of the final, the 31-year-old produced the second-longest throw in history, 81.74m, which would also have beaten her 2015 world record.

"Everyone thought I'd win the gold medal," said Wlodarczyk. "But the best thing for me is the world record, because I talked a lot about it. I didn't fail the fans, I didn't fail Poland so that's just great. It's time to celebrate."

Lysenko, who had already served a two-year doping ban for steroid use before competing in 2012, was one of dozens of athletes whose frozen samples from the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki were retested retrospectively.

In April, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said that Lysenko had been provisionally suspended after her 2005 sample had revealed an abnormality. If confirmed, she faces a lifetime ban from track and field.

It is not yet known whether Wlodarczyk will receive the gold medal likely to be stripped from Lysenko but the Polish star was in no mood to dwell on the past following her win.

"London is history. We're in Rio now and I'm the best hammer thrower in the world," Wlodarczyk said. "I think my record will be in my hands for another 20 years."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Wlodarczyk hammers the opposition'. Print Edition | Subscribe