A repeat of the exciting Olympic hammer throw final from Tokyo, potential for top-class performances in the pole vault and the best shot put field ever seen on Polish soil! The fourth edition of the Irena Szewińska Memorial in Bydgoszcz, one of the top Polish meets, which has been given the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold status this year, offers plenty to look forward to. The competition kicks off on Friday at 5 PM.
– Every time I face Paweł Fajdek in the throwing circle, I think back to the wonderful evening in Tokyo, when both of us won Olympic medals. I am happy we will be able to compete against each other again in Bydgoszcz, at the meet dedicated to Poland’s top athlete – said the Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki.
Plenty of top stars will make their way to Bydgoszcz. The hammer throw competitions will feature five out of six current Olympic medalists! In addition to Nowicki and Fajdek, the silver medalist Eivind Henriksen will also take part in the men’s competition, while on the women’s side the headliners are Olympic champion Anita Włodarczyk and bronze medalist Malwina Kopron.
– I don’t believe it is possible to assemble stronger fields in both men’s and women’s hammer throw than this, but the event is just one of the highlights of the fourth Irena Szewińska Memorial. In the men’s shot put we have a field of a caliber never seen before in Poland, while the pole vault will see two men who know what it is like to clear a bar set at six metres – said Krzysztof Wolsztyński, chairman of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Athletics Association and the director of the fourth Irena Szewińska Memorial. The organisation of the meet has been made possible with the support from the city of Bydgoszcz, the Kujawsko-Pomorskie local government, as well as the companies ANWIL S.A. and InterRisk.
In addition to Konrad Bukowiecki and Michał Haratyk, the participants in the shot put include the two-time Olympic medalist and world champion Tom Walsh from New Zealand, two-time Olympic runner-up and double world champion Joe Kovacs from the US, the Croatian indoor world and European championship medalist Filip Mihajlevic and the current indoor world champion Darlan Romani of Brazil.
– To me, there is nothing better than competing against a field as strong as this one. I don’t know of any athlete who would be happy with a victory without serious competition, that’s why facing the top athletes is so exciting. I would like to present myself in top shape in front of the Polish audience and I hope the evening in Bydgoszcz will be an exciting one for Polish fans – Konrad Bukowiecki commented.
An interesting battle is in store in the men’s pole vault, with in-form Piotr Lisek going against the Olympic runner-up Christopher Nielsen and the Frenchman Valentin Lavillenie.
– We have two six-metre vaulters in the field and we are counting on top heights being achieved. We can see Piotr Lisek is in good early-season form and we are hoping he can confirm it in our stadium – Wolsztyński added. An exciting rivalry is also expected in the women’s 400 metre race, with Olympic relay champions Iga Baumgart-Witan and Małgorzata Hołub-Kowalik facing Kornelia Lesiewicz.
In total, the fans in the Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak Stadium will be able to witness competition in 15 events. The women will fight it out in the 100, 400 and 800 metres, 100 and 400 metre hurdles and the hammer throw. The men’s events on the program are 100, 800 and 1500 metres, 110 and 400 metre hurdles, as well as the pole vault, shot put, hammer throw and high jump.
The competition will start at 5 PM on 3 June. During the event, the fans will be able to say thank you to Marcin Lewandowski, who recently announced his retirement. Lewandowski will be a special guest at the Memorial. The organisers have planned several surprises, while the fans will get a chance to thank, take a picture with, or get an autograph from one of the top Polish athletes of all time.