Taking the event to new heights, literally, Mike Zolkiewicz punched out an 18’ 9” throw in the 56-lb. weight for height today, in the first day of competition at the International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) World Highland Games Team Championships in Antigonish, Nova Scotia (Canada).
Mike Zolkiewicz hit a huge 18’ 9” in the 56-lb. weight for height, for a new world record. IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Francis Brebner.
Calling the action from the field, Francis Brebner filed this special report for IronMind®:
2009 IHGF World Highland Games Team Championships – Day One
Reported by Francis Brebner
Records tumbled on the first day’s competition of the IHGF World Highland Games Team Championships, with Mike Zolkiewicz establishing a new world record in the 56-lb. weight for height. That wasn’t all – Greg Hadley broke the Canadian championships record in the 56-lb. weight for distance and Sean Betz broke the Antigonish ground record in the 22-lb. Braemar stone.
In the very first event, the 22-lb. Braemar stone, a new ground record was established by Betz with a distance of 41’ 7-1/2”, breaking the old record of 40’ 5” held by Matt Docherty. In second place was Zolkiewicz at 41’ 1/2”, with Docherty in third at 39’ 7”.
In the 56-lb. weight for distance, Hadley smashed his own Canadian record of 45’ 7” with a tremendous throw of 46’ to set a new Canadian record. In second was Larry Brock at 45’ 8” and in third, Lyle Barron at 42’ 10-3/4”.
The 22-lb. hammer was a very exciting contest, with Lyle Barron taking the win with a world-class throw of 112’ 5-3/4”. Hadley was in second at 108’ 5-1/2”, with Brock just an inch behind in third spot at 108’ 4-1/2”.
The fourth event of the day was the caber toss, with a pole weighing 123-lb. and 21’ 8” in length with very little taper. First place went to Brock with a toss of 11:00; in second place was Lyle Barron with a 1:00 toss and in third, Betz with 2.15.
The final event of the first day’s competition, the 56-lb. weight over the bar, proved riveting for the six thousand spectators, who watched Zolkiewicz win the event at a very impressive height 17’. In second place was Betz at 16’; Docherty also cleared 16’ but placed third on countback.
The excitement did not end there as Zolkiewicz asked for the bar to be raised to the new height of 18’ 9”, which was 1’ 3” higher than the existing Antigonish ground record, held by Holland’s Wout Zjilstra since 2003, and 1” higher than the existing world record of 18’ 8”, also held by Wout Zjilstra.
With the crowd encouraging him, Mike’s first three attempts just narrowly missed clearing the bar. With three more record attempts, Zolkiewicz nailed the second one, establishing the new world record height of 18’ 9” to the wild cheers of the six thousand spectators.
The team scores after day one are as follows:
USA Team 1 – Sean Betz and Will Barron - 43 points
USA Team 2 – Larry Brock and Mike Zolkiewicz - 47
Canada Team 1 – Greg Hadley and Matt Docherty - 50
Canada Team 2 – Lyle Barron and Dirk Bishop - 55.5
Europe Team - Craig Sinclair and Tommy DeBruijn - 79.5
Tomorrow’s competition will include the scores of the final three events: the 16-lb. open stone, 28-lb. weight for distance, and 16-lb. hammer.