That Christina Schwanitz secured the gold medal inside a buzzing Scandinavium Arena was no huge surprise. The giant German did after all come into the competition as pre-event favourite, boasting five of the six longest throws in the world this year. Yet perhaps the manner of her triumph – in which she upgraded on her silver medal won at the last edition of these championships two years ago – did surprise.
Clearly out-of-sorts and struggling to find her rhythm she was holding the bronze medal position going into her sixth and final effort. But like all great champions she managed to summon her best when it mattered most launched the metal ball out to 19.25m – enough to secure gold.
Long-time leader and Olympic silver medallist Yevgeniya Kolodko was denied top spot on the podium thanks Schwanitz’s last gasp effort, but a best of 19.04m at least assured her silver.
Alena Kopets of Belarus also impressed and a best of 18.85 earned the 2009 World Student Games bronze medallist, a place on the bottom rung of the podium again.
A relieved Schwanitz said: “I am so happy I got my first big title and the first gold at the 2013 Euro indoors for Germany.”
Schwanitz and Kolodko began their quest with disappointing fouls in round one and it was Kopets who took an early lead with a decent opener of 18.48m. The European outdoor bronze medallist Chiara Rosa was probably the most satisfied
athlete in the field after round one, setting a season’s best of 18.37m to sit second. Russia’s Irina Tarasova, meanwhile, registered 18.09m to place third at the end of a largely forgettable first round.
The second round also struggled to fizz with Schwanitz making the only significant move, registering 18.21m with her first legitimate effort to relegate Tarasova to fourth.
It was all change, though, in round three. Kolodko – a master championship performer – at last found the groove, elevating her position from fifth to provisional gold with an 18.71m effort. Kopets registered a foul while Schwanitz strengthened her grip on third with 18.47m. At the midway point it was Kolodko, Kopets and Schwanitz occupying the three podium positions.
A misfiring Schwanitz registered another red flag with her fourth attempt. Meanwhile, Kopets added a further 0.06 to her best for the competition with 18.59m to inch closer to the leader. As for Kolodko she let out a mighty scream as the shot appeared to land in the 19m vicinity. However, she lost her balance and toppled out of the front of the circle for a foul.
It was in the penultimate round, though, when the competition burst into life. Schwanitz straining every sinew powered the shot out to 18.64m to briefly dislodge Kopets into the silver medal position. However, the Belarus athlete immediately responded. At the same time as her compatriot Marina Arzamasova was on her way to bronze in the women’s 800m final she shook up the competition by launching the shot out to 18.85m to assume control.
Nonetheless, Kolodko produced a perfect counter punch. Letting out a characteristic scream she hurled the shot out to 19.04m to regain control at the head of affairs.
Yet it was Schwanitz’s final round effort, which was to prove decisive. The previously below par German raised her arms aloft in triumph as soon as the shot bounced off the plastic matting. Kopets and Kolodko could not respond to the challenge, both recording red flags with the last round efforts as the German clinched gold.