‘Hulk’ Hogan provides highlight at world champs with fifth in discus final

2013-08-14 00:00

VICTOR Hogan provided the South African team with its highlight of the first four days of competition at the world athletic championships in Moscow last night with a fifth-place finish in the discus final.

“I’m so happy, I don’t regret anything,” said Hogan, who is enjoying his recent nickname of “Hulk”.

After the relative surprise of making the final at his first world championships, Hogan spun his discus out to 64,35 m with his first throw.

“I prefer it that way [big throw first] as it releases a lot of stress,” continued the congenial 1,99 m giant of the South African team. “The first trial I was so nervous. I was throwing just after the world number one and two, which put a lot of pressure on me. The first one went well and the second one I tried to perform better.”

At the final cut, German Olympic champion Robert Harting had the lead after his second throw of 68,13 m, with Gerd Kanter (EST) in second, Poland’s Piotr Malachowski in third and Hogan in fourth.

“I think I was placed fourth, I thought I’m so close to a medal and anything can happen, but I just couldn’t get a better performance and I lost one place.”

In the fourth round, German Martin Wierig hit 65,02 m to knock the Hulk into fifth spot, but the big man from Kleinmond was not disappointed.

“I just gave my all. I didn’t even think I would go through to the top 12,” continued Hogan, who is coached by Kaai Prellor in Bloemfontein.

Harting went on to win his third championship title with a 69,11 m fifth round trial, and Kanter and Malachowski reversed positions after the fifth round when the Pole threw 68,36 m for silver.

The 24-year-old Hogan believes he has many years ahead of him and is already planning for next year.

“Its not the blaze of glory that I want — it’s the rewards of improving in little bits over the years,”

Although there were no Commonwealth athletes ahead of him in the result, he does not under-estimate the work required for next year’s games in Glasgow, Scotland.

“There’s a number of good guys — Gowd from India, Wruck from Australia and a number of others who never made the final. They can perform big and have better distances than me this year,” said Hogan, “But yeah it’s going to be a good one, it’s going to be fun. I feel confident and hope I can just get better and better.”

One of the first things he says he will use the prize money for is an Olympic lifting bar and rubber disks so that he can bump up the weight of his Olympic lifts.

In yesterday’s morning session Elroy Gelant secured his place in Friday’s 5 000 m final following a tactical approach to his heat that saw him finish in sixth in 13:25,07.

“I knew we had to make it fast so we agreed to share two laps each,” said the 26-year-old, who had agreed strategy with Arne Gabius (GER), Zane Robinson (NZL) and Brett Robinson (Aus). “It was a bit of a sprint finish, but I managed to keep up well with them. I’m very happy to make the final.”

Gabius took over from Gelant, pulling the field through 1 200 m in 3:13,20 with Moroccan Aziz Lahbabi leading through 4 000 m in 10:53,38.

Although Gelant had dropped to second last, he was able to step up to the mark and slipstreamed his way to the line. The sprint saw Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet clock 13:23,22 and American Ryan Hill (13:24,19) close the five automatic qualifiers.

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