Athletics

Katzberg breaks Hungarian hearts in men’s hammer

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Canadian silences partisan crowd at World Champs in Budapest as he overhauls home favourite Bence Halasz in battle for gold

Hungarian hearts were broken in the men’s hammer as host nation hope Bence Halasz was overtaken in the latter stages by Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki and surprise package Ethan Katzberg.

Halasz was arguably Hungary’s best medal hope at these championships and led the contest in the first three rounds with first-round effort of 80.82m, which was met with a huge roar of approval by the crowd.

But Katzberg, 21, took gold with a Canadian record of 81.25m in the fifth round as Nowicki fought his way into the runner-up position with 80.83m in the fourth round to take the lead by one centimetre before improving to 81.02m in the fifth.

Still, Hungarian fans were celebrating a podium place and Halasz’s success merited its own press conference at a championships otherwise bereft of traditional “pressers”.

“The main thing in all of this is that I could make so many people happy,” said Halasz. “I cannot describe my feelings about how many children have been coming to me asking for photos or just cheering for me. This medal just makes everything more beautiful.”

Last summer Katzberg won Commonwealth silver in Birmingham behind Nick Miller and here he said: “This is my first world championships and it was absolutely amazing experience. I felt a little nerves coming in, but with the first throw I gained some confidence and I was satisfied with how I was progressing during the competition.

“I did not want to get too excited so I tried to keep myself calm. To throw a PB and become a world champion, that is absolutely a great feeling.”

Nowicki said: “I am glad for even this silver medal because the competition had a very high level. There was a big fight until the very end and it was very exciting. We were very equalled in the first positions and Bence had a very good support from the home crowd. The Canadian thrower had a good day and it was visible that he was well prepared. So he won and he deserved it.”

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