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Harting, the man to beat for discus gold

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Lithuania’s Alekna and Estonia’s Kanter would be determined to upset the world champion

The three have shared all the Olympic and World titles among them since 2000.

Two of them are at the top of the season lists, projecting themselves as strong contenders for the men’s discus title in the London Games.

They are Robert Harting of Germany, the world champion; Gerd Kanter of Estonia, the defending Olympic champion, and Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania, two-time Olympic and two-time world champion.

Harting tops the season lists at 70.66 with Alekna, all of 40, at 70.28. Kanter is down at eighth in the with 67.71, but he too has the credentials, apart from being the defending champion.

Three-way contest

The discus contest in London has to revolve around these three with Beijing Olympic silver medallist Piotr Malachowski of Poland (SB 68.94) capable of pulling off a surprise.

Going into the Sydney Olympics, Alekna (73.88), Frantz Kruger of South Africa (69.75) and Lars Riedel of Germany (69.72), one of all-time great discus throwers, were heading the season lists.

Alkena won with 69.30, Riedel came second and Kruger took bronze.

In Athens Alekna again went in as the favourite having thrown 70.97 prior to the Games.

He was beaten by Hungarian Robert Fazekas but the latter was disqualified on a doping charge and the Lithuanian, who had a 69.89, given the gold.

That disqualification also helped another Hungarian, Zoltan Kovago to move up for the silver, with 67.04.

In 2008 Kanter led the charts with71.88 and he obliged in the Olympics with a throw of 68.82, followed by Malachowski and Alekna. Harting was fourth.

Now, being at the top of the season lists and not just because of his world champion status, Harting could be having an edge over the rest in the London Games.

Six of his seven competitions this season has resulted in throws over 66 metres with two of them over 70 metres.

Excellent record

Harting, 27, has an excellent record against all his closest challengers except Kanter against whom he only has 15-14 record going back to 2004.

He has a 17-8 record over Alekna and 2-0 for the season against Malachowski.

Twenty-year-old Briton Lawrence Okoyo (68.24), Kovago (68.21) and Asian record holder Ehsan Hadadi of Iran (68.20) are the other 68-plus throwers this season who could be in contention for a medal.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 1:44:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/harting-the-man-to-beat-for-discus-gold/article3659039.ece

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