The Memorial Janusz Kusocinski in Chorzow is an important meet in Poland, named to honor Janusz Kusocinski, a top Polish distance runner, who took gold in the 10,000m in 1932 and was killed in WW2. Stuart Weir covered this meeting via TV in Oxford, England.
Memorial Janusz Kusocinski in Chorzow
There was lots of high quality track and field at the Memorial Janusz Kusocinski in Chorzow (Tuesday 25 August). The city of 100,000 people in Southern Poland will host the 2021 World Relays. And since you asked, Janusz Kusocinski was a Polish athlete won the 10000m at the 1932 Olympics.
Poland is a country of 38 Million which punches above its weight in our sport, certainly in terms of hosting events. This is the second Continental series event in a week following the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Bydgoszcz. Last year I was in Poland for the European Teams Championship and will be here next year for the European Indoors and the World Relays.
Jake Wightman, 800m, Memorial Janusz Kusocinski in Chorzow, 25 August 2020, photo 4 by Stuart Weir/ via TVP Sport (Polish TV)
The program opened with the high hurdles. Orlando Ortega was a clear winner of the 100m hurdles in 13.25. Two Americans, Aaron Mallett (13.43) and Freddie Crittenden (13.44) followed him home with GB’s Cameron Fillery fourth in 12.63. Cyrena Samba-Mayela won the women’s 100m hurdles in a PR of 12.87.
Wadeline Jonathas continued her winning streak taking the 400m in 51.23, followed by Justyba Swiety-Ersetic (51.64) and three more Poles. With Swiety-Ersetic, Holub-Kowalik and Baumgart-Witan in the top five, Steven Mills was found tweeting: “To be a member of the Polish women’s 4x400m team it seems you have to be all of the following: -Blonde -Double barrelled name -Sponsored by New Balance”. Sean Safo-Antwi (Ghana) won the 100m in 10.23 from veteran Mike Rodgers (10.36) – at least he is double-barrelled!.
There was a magnificent 800m race, which was won by Ferguson Cheruiyot in 1:45.34 from Wesley Vazquez (Puerto Rico) whose time was 1.45.54. Then came the two local heroes, Marcin Lewandowski (1:45.79) – third but less than half a second behind the winner – and Adam Kszczot (1:46.05). Jake Wighman (GB) ran a brave race, moving into second place and looking like challenging Cheruiyot on the home straight but he faded towards the line, finishing fifth in 1:46.11.
Karol Zalewski (Poland) won the 400m in 45.47 from Mateusz Rzezniczak (46.62) with hurdler, Dave Kendziera (USA) third in 46.67, a PR.
Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk won the women’s long jump with 6.78m. Britain’s former seven-meter jumper and world championship silver medalist, Shara Proctor, again struggled, managing only 5.93m for ninth. The two high jumps were all Poland affairs with Kamila Licwinko (1.88m) and Nobert Kobielski (2.22m) winning.
Sam Kendricks won the pole vault with 5.82, a season’s best, after needing three attempts at 5.72. Menno Vloon (Netherlands) was second with 5.72. Harry Coppell (GB) was sixth 5.42.
Pawel Fajdek, Memorial Janusz Kusocinski in Chorzow, 25 August 2020, photo 10 by Stuart Weir/ via TVP Sport (Polish TV)
Poland loves the throws and Wojciech Nowicki would have delighted the home crowd, had one been allowed, with his 80.19 in the hammer, ahead of Bence Halisz of Hungary (78.18) with another Pole, Pawel Fajdek third with 78.05. All four in the women’s hammer were from the host country with Malwina Kopron winning with 73.43. Johannes Vetter won the javelin with 90.86 – with three Poles in the top five.
As with last week’s event, there was a good mix of international and local athletes.