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A crowd of 45,322 enjoys a great athletics gala complete with world record at Berlin’s ISTAF

Great sporting feats including a world record! The 73rd Internationales Stadionfest Berlin has lived up to the ‘festival’ part of its name. On 31st August 2014 45,322 spectators joined 164 athletes from 40 nations in a rip-roaring sports extravaganza in Berlin’s Olympic stadium. The crowd was treated to three wins for German athletes – shot putters Christina Schwanitz and David Storl and discus thrower Robert Harting. But the highlight of the event was a new world record set by hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk.

The 29-year-old Pole flung her hammer 79.58 metres, improving on Betty Heidler’s record by 16 centimetres and bringing her a standing ovation from the crowd. It is the 16th world record to be broken in the 93 years of the ISTAF. Anita Wlodarczyk: “I’m in great form this year and it’s boosted my confidence. This is my lucky venue. I set a world record here in 2009, too.” The gold medal comes with a cheque for 20,000 dollars, largely courtesy of main sponsor Spielbank Berlin.

Crowd favourite Robert Harting was likewise in fine fettle at the end of a long season, winning his discus event decisively with a throw of 68,21m in front of his home crowd – his fifth ISTAF victory in a row. Shot putter David Storl was equally untroubled, managing 21.41m to American Ryan Whiting’s 21.06m.

European champion shot putter Christina Schwanitz was harder pushed to take gold in her event, pipping the leading Russian Yevgeniya Kolodko by ten centimetres with her last throw of 19.53m.

The long jump competition also drew a lot of attention, with paralympics winner Markus Rehm taking part unofficially and achieving a leap of 7.86m. Ethiopian Mohammed Aman also shone in the 800 metres, winning with a time of 1:43.52 minutes.

Meeting Director Martin Seeber was happy with how the 1-day event went: “Our new format with the extra show elements was a success. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from spectators, sponsors, TV companies and athletes on our streamlined programme and our new way of presenting the athletes. This ISTAF gave us 16 best-of-season performances, nine personal bests and a world record. All that can also be put down to the great atmosphere. We had 2.2 million television viewers in Germany alone. That’s more than we’ve had for years!”