Johannes Vetter is the latest global track and field star to sign up to the Müller British Grand Prix and all eyes will be on whether he can break Jan Zelezny’s world javelin record at the Wanda Diamond League event in Gateshead on Tuesday 13th July.
Zelezny’s mark of 98.48m was set 25 years ago in Jena, but Vetter came close to surpassing it last year with 97.76m in Poland – the longest throw in the world for more than two decades.
The 28-year-old from Germany looks in world record-breaking form this year, too, as he threw 96.29m to win his event by 11 metres at the European Team Championships last month.
The omens are good as well when it comes to Vetter attacking Zelezny’s record at Gateshead. The last time he competed in Britain he won the world title in London in 2017. It is also not unusual to see javelin world records set in England.
Czech legend Zelezny threw a world record of 95.66m in Sheffield in 1993, whereas Britain’s Steve Backley broke the world record with 90.98m at Crystal Palace in London in 1990.
Vetter said: “I have been really pleased with my form so far this year and am hoping for another good performance at the Müller British Grand Prix in Gateshead next month. It will be an important test ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and I look forward to throwing well there.
“I have good memories of competing in England. My world title in 2017 was won in the Olympic Stadium in London and there is always good support at British meetings from their knowledgeable crowd.”
On attacking the world record, the German said earlier this year: “The conditions have to be right and in the javelin you need your whole body. You need the right speed, a good plant foot, the right release point, trajectory and transfer of weight.
“Trying to throw long is like going into a casino and playing roulette – the odds are against you.”
The news of Vetter’s participation follows the announcement of a world-class women’s pole vault line up that sees British record-holder Holly Bradshaw taking on Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi, world outdoor champion Anzhelika Sidorova, world indoor gold medallist Sandi Morris and world leader in 2021 Katie Nageotte.
In addition, British star Dina Asher-Smith will be racing over 200m and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands will compete in the women’s mile, with further announcements to follow in coming days.
Gateshead staged the first Wanda Diamond League event of 2021 in May after it was moved from Rabat in Morocco to the North East of England and now, on 13th July, the same venue will host the seventh Diamond League of the season after it was moved from its original home of London.
The Müller British Grand Prix will be broadcast internationally from 7-9pm with BBC showing the action live for domestic viewers.
Tickets will go on general sale from 12 noon on Wednesday 23rd June – visit britishathletics.org.uk for more details.