Gold glory for German discus thrower

Robert Harting won the men's Olympic discus title on Tuesday with a throw of 68.27 metres to give Germany their first athletics gold medal of the London Games.

Gold glory for German discus thrower
Photo: DPA

The 27-year-old – who has not been beaten in two years – edged out Ehsan Hadadi, who won Iran’s first ever Olympic medal in athletics with a throw of 68.18m and had led until the penultimate round.

Defending champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia was third with a season’s best of 68.03m.

Harting celebrated his victory by clearing several of the the barriers set up for the women’s 100m hurdles – and did so with style for such a big man.

Hadadi had taken the lead in the first round with a throw of 68.18m while both Harting and Lithuania’s two-time Olympic champion Virgilius Alekna also put down markers in the opening salvo.

Kanter improved in every round and moved into second with his superb season’s best effort in the penultimate round which pushed 40-year-old Alekna out of the medal positions.

Harting too found his best form in the same round to throw his winning effort and Hadadi then replied with an enormous effort only to have it ruled out for a foot fault.

The German failed to improve on it in the final round but Hadadi was unable to find the inspiration to deny him his moment of glory and become the first from his country to win the event since Lars Riedel in Atlanta in 1996.

Tuesday was an altogether more successful day for the German Olympians, with silver medals in the team dressage, two more in the men’s gymnastics, and a guaranteed silver in the men’s beach volleyball, where Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann reached the final.

Defending weightlifting champion Matthias Steiner suffered a shock when the 196-kilo bar he was attempting to lift slipped from his grasp and fell onto his neck.

He managed to walk away and was taken to hospital for checks, but seems to have escaped serious injury.

AFP/The Local/bk

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Germany’s Interior Minister rules out ‘unthinkable’ bid to host 2036 Olympics

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out a bid to host the 2036 Olympics, saying in an interview that it would be "unthinkable" on the 100th anniversary of the Nazi-era 1936 Games in Berlin.

Germany's Interior Minister rules out 'unthinkable' bid to host 2036 Olympics
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Photo: DPA

Held three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1936 games are widely remembered as a propaganda coup for Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

In March this year, Berlin's state minister of the interior Andreas Geisel faced heavy criticism after he appeared to suggest Berlin should bid for the 2036 Olympics in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper.

However, the 69-year-old Seehofer, whose ministry also holds the sports portfolio, said Germany could not be seen to celebrate the centenary of the Nazi-era Berlin Olympics.

“It would be unthinkable. If we did that, we would bring on an unspeakable international discussion and harm the Olympic idea,” he told Frankfurt-based newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview published on Monday.

“How would people see it across the world? Germany celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Nazi Olympics? That cannot happen.”

Aside from concerns over associations with the Nazi regime, there is scant public support for hosting the Olympics in Germany.

READ ALSO: Interior Ministry begs for more cash after 'forgetting' landmark reunification celebration

Public referendums, in 2015 and 2013, rejected proposed Olympic bids to host the summer games in Hamburg and a winter edition in Munich respectively.

Seehofer said that he was generally in favour of a German Olympic bid, but voiced concern that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had become too focused on commercial success.

“In the eyes of the public, the IOC has wandered too far from its original idea and into commercialism,” he told the FAZ.

He called on the IOC to “de-commercialise” and said he had “a lot of sympathy” for the German Athletes' Commission, which last year demanded that the IOC share a quarter of its profits with Olympic participants.

By Kit Holden