Hohn recounts his famous 100m throw

Uwe Hohn.  

The only man to throw a javelin to 100m has high expectations about his ward Neeraj Chopra

Uwe Hohn was 14 when he decided that he would one day throw the javelin to a distance of 100m. Nobody had ever done it; he wanted to be the first to achieve that feat.

Some eight years later, he did that — and more, in fact. At the Olympic Day of Athletics meet in Berlin on July 24, 1984, he recorded a distance of 104.80m. He broke Tom Petranoff's World record of 99.72 — set a year earlier — with ridiculous ease.

Nobody else has crossed the 100m since. In 1986, a new javelin design was introduced and all the previous records were erased.

Epic effort

But, Hohn’s throw remains one of the most talked-about feats in the history of track-and-field.

Thirty four years later, he recalls the events leading up to his epic throw. “When I was 14, I had watched a documentary on the 1972 Olympic champion Klaus Wolfermann and it was then that I first thought about the 100m throw,” Hohn told The Hindu here on the final day of the Ekamra Sports Literary Festival organised by the Government of Odisha and Emerging Sports.

“Then at the 1976 Olympics, Wolfermann’s record was broken by Miklos Nemeth.”

The new record stood at 94.58m. When Hohn reached Berlin for the Olympic Day meet, the record was in the name of Tom Petranoff at 99.72m.

“Before that, in May that year, I had a throw of 99.52m, but that wasn’t a perfect one, so I knew that 100m was not far away,” the gentle giant recalled. “I didn’t think I could cross 104m, though I was confident of breaking the 100m barrier.”

It was also the year of the Olympics, but sadly, Hohn couldn’t compete at Los Angeles, because his country East Germany boycotted the Games. “That was a huge disappointment for me,” he said. “I had to miss out on the Olympics for no fault of mine.”

Small consolation

The gold should have been his. The eventual winner’s best throw was 86.76m. The gold at the 1985 World championship in Athens was small consolation.

He has since moved on to coaching. He came to India a year ago and is happy with the way the throwers have progressed.

He is particularly excited about Neerja Chopra, the country’s brightest hope. “He is already one of the best in the world,” he said. “A medal at the Tokyo Olympics is not beyond him. He has natural talent and am impressed by his dedication and enthusiasm to train.”

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 10:57:55 AM |

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