American strongman Ryan Crouser is back doing what he does best, throwing the iron ball beyond the 22m mark.
After opening his season with 21.93m at the Drake Relays, the Olympic shot put champion Crouser was back to throwing beyond 22 metres, not once but four times at the Arkansas Twilight meeting.
The wet conditions did not deter Crouser as he saved his best of 22.69m for the final round. He had also thrown 22.53m, 22.42m and 22.37m distances to take his career tally of 22m-plus throws to 117. Second on that list is Ulf Timmermann, with 39.
Only eight men have ever achieved or bettered 22.69m but for Crouser it is just his 13th best ever throw.
Crouser was not the only athlete to shine as the athletics calendar moves into high gear.
Like him, German’s Johannes Vetter was also in commanding form in the javelin competition at the European Throwing Cup in Split.
After his 91.50m throw in Offenburg last month, the 2017 world javelin champion threw 91.12m for a dominant win.
Vetter, who moved to second on the world all-time list with 97.76m last year, also threw 90.43m, 89.63m, 88.34m, 88.23m and 84.20m, winning ahead of Andrian Mardare with a Moldovan record of 86.66m.
World triple jump champion Yulimar Rojas started her Olympic season in style, leaping to a world-leading 15.14m to win at the Meeting Toni Bonet in Ibiza in Spain.
The Venezuelan world indoor record-holder, who jumped 15.43m in February last year and has an outdoor best of 15.41m from 2019, achieved her 15.14m in the second round and backed it up with 15.01m in the fourth round, though was disappointed with her three fouls.
Burkina Faso’s world bronze medallist, who leapt 18.07m indoors in January, also recorded marks of 17.29m and 16.75m before three fouls.
It is the Olympic silver medallist’s best ever season opener, improving on the 15.06m she jumped to start her 2019 summer.
The 2019 European indoor champion Ana Peleteiro jumped 14.31m to finish second.
The men’s world indoor record-holder Hugues Fabrice Zango was also opening his outdoor season on Saturday and he jumped a world-leading 17.40m in Montpellier.
JUST NOW: Hugues Fabrice Zango jumps a new World Lead of 17.40m (57-1)! 😳🌍— Jumpers World (@jumpers_world) May 8, 2021
🎥 IG: teamt_18 pic.twitter.com/jG1eZy2cxR
Over in Portugal, World 1500m bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay blazed a 29:39.42 10,000m debut at the Fernanda Ribeiro Gold Gala.
The 24-year-old, who won the 5000m at the Ethiopian Championships in 14:49.7 last month, went through half way in around 14:55 and continued to pick up the pace.
It is the fastest ever women’s 10,000m debut, improving Almaz Ayana’s 30:07.00 from 2016, and puts Tsegay fifth on the world all-time list.
After her 1:57.52 800m indoors in February, which closely followed her world indoor 1500m record of 3:53.09, this latest performance means that Tsegay becomes the first woman in history to run sub-2:00 for 800m and sub-30:00 for 10,000m within the same calendar year.
Her 29:39.42 was not the only impressive debut performance, however, as Bahrain’s Kalkidan Gezahegne, racing for the first time since 2018, ran 29:50.77 for second place, making it just the second 10,000m race in history in which two women have finished inside 30 minutes. Uganda’s Doreen Chesang was third in 32:09.82.
The men’s 10,000m was won by Kenya’s world bronze medallist Rhonex Kipruto in 27:11.01 ahead of Shadrack Koech (27:59.19).
Over in Lausanne, Loic Gasch broke the long-standing Swiss high jump record, clearing 2.33m.
It adds 3cm to his own previous best set last year and 2cm to Roland Dalhauser’s national record, which had been set in 1981.
Voici le saut INCROYABLE de Loic Gasch à #Lausanne: 2m33, minima pour @Tokyo2020 et record 🇨🇭! @UBSathletics @PUMA @swissteam @srfsport @RTSsport @RSIsport @EuroAthletics @WorldAthletics pic.twitter.com/1JztIW9VVi— Swiss Athletics (@SwissAthletics) May 8, 2021
Hosts Ecuador claimed three titles, while Colombia’s 2017 world champion Eider Arevalo was also among the winners at the Pan American Race Walking Cup in Guayaquil.
Arevalo secured victory in a competitive men’s 20km race walk, gaining gold in 1:21:37 just five seconds ahead of Brazil’s 2017 world bronze medallist Caio Bonfim. Ecuador’s world U20 silver medallist David Hurtado was a further six seconds back as he led home his teammates Brian Daniel Pintado (1:21:59) and Jordy Rafael Jimenez Arrobo (1:22:29).
Ecuador’s two-time Pan American Games bronze medallist Paola Perez won the women’s event, clocking 1:30:38 ahead of her teammate Karla Jaramillo (1:31:54). Brazil’s Viviane Lyra was third in 1:34:57.
Ecuador’s two other wins came in the men’s 50km and women’s 35km events, with Jonathan Javier Amores Carua clocking 4:04:53 ahead of Mexico’s Ever Jair Palma Olivares (4:06:21) and Nathaly Leon crossing the finish line in 2:54:45.
Guatemala’s Bryan Alexander Matias Ortiz won the men’s under-20 10km race walk in 43:42, while Brazil’s Gabriela De Sousa won the women’s race in 47:50.