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Island hammer-thrower Katzberg continues setting torrid pace to Paris Olympics

Defending world champion again laid down the gauntlet ahead of Olympics by landing the farthest hammer throw in 16 years on Saturday
Nanaimo’s Ethan Katzberg representing Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. ALASTAIR GRANT, AP

Ethan Katzberg of Nanaimo continues hammering.

The defending world champion again laid down the gauntlet ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics this summer by landing the farthest hammer throw in 16 years on Saturday, 84.38 metres, while competing in the Kip Keino Continental Tour in the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Islander shattered his personal best and Canadian record of 81.25 metres set in winning the world championship last year in Budapest.

His throw in Kenya was the ninth-best hammer throw in history and the longest since Ivan Tikhon of Belarus threw 84.51 metres in 2008.

Katzberg now legitimately stalks the nearly four-decade-old world record of 86.74 metres set by Russian Yuriy Sedykh of the then Soviet Union in 1986. Of the eight throwers ahead of Katzberg on the all-time list, four are former Soviets, three are Belarusians and one is Japanese.

It continues a torrid period for the John Barsby Secondary graduate, beginning with the silver medal in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games and continuing through with gold medals in 2023 at the worlds in Budapest and the Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile.

“From now until then, it’s all about Paris [2024 Olympics],” Katzberg said, following his Pan Am Games gold in Santiago.

He continued his climb from the Nanaimo Track and Field Club to Saturday in Kenya to potentially the biggest podium of all this summer in Paris.

Katzberg has said he came to the sport because his older sister threw hammer at John Barsby: “My sister was a hammer thrower in high school. I fell into it that way and my dad coached me until [Canadian Olympic medallist shot-putter] Dylan Armstrong took me under his wing.”

About the keys to his breakthrough since 2022, Katzberg has said: “Listening to my coach.

“He’s got a lot of knowledge and has helped me out tremendously.

“I’ve been at it [eight] years. It’s a long time coming. It’s a very technical sport.”

It’s a technique he seems to have mastered.

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