Estonian javelin thrower Magnus Kirt clinched the bronze at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin yesterday with a throw of 85.96 m, the first Estonian so far to feature in the medals table.
German throwers Thomas Röhler and Andreas Hoffmann took gold and silver respectively, in front of a home crowd.
The 28 year-old Estonian, who throws with the left hand and was competing in his first finals at the European Championships, opened the contest, over six rounds, with his best throw overall, and was initially leading. Eventual winner Hoffman made a 90 m throw which was red-flagged and so didn’t count.
Fortunes changed on the second throw, with Kirt suffering a no-throw, and Hoffman taking the lead briefly with his best throw of 87.60 m, before being eclipsed by his countryman, eventual winner Röhler, with an 88.02 m.
The medals positions remained the same for the remaining rounds; Röhler topped his own previous throw in round three with an 89.47 m, which remained unchallenged.
No change after round three
The remaining three rounds saw Kirt getting quite close to his first round with an 84.81 m throw in his last attempt, which on its own would still have been enough to take third place, safely ahead of fourth placed man Marcin Krukowski of Poland who threw a best of 84.55 m.
Another German, Johannes Vetter, finished fifth with 83.27, a long way off his personal best (and second highest all time worldwide throw of 94.44 from 2017).
Magnus Kirt thus won his first European Championship medal, though the throw was some way of his personal (and Estonian) record of 89.75, which he made in Rabat, Morocco in July.
All-time world record under the current regulations introduced by the IAAF in 1991 is something of an outlier; Jan Železný of the Czech Republic threw 98.48 m in 1996.
The 2018 European Athletics Championships run until Sunday, in Berlin, though some events have been hosted in the UK.
Estonians to watch out for on Friday include Grit Šadeiko and Mari Klaup-McColl who continue in the women’s heptathlon, having got through the heats on Thursday, and women’s hammer thrower Anna Maria Orel. Live commentary (in Estonian) is here.