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Belarus’ Ivan Tikhon wins Olympic silver in hammer throwing

Hammer reaches silver medal

Belarus’ Ivan Tikhon wins Olympic silver in hammer throwing. His fifth attempt, 77.79 metres, was Tikhon’s best. The gold medal went to Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov, with a throw of 78.68 metres, while Poland’s Wojciech Nowicki took bronze with 77.73 metres.

In throwing zone

Notably, Tikhon was ranking first until Nazarov’s third throw, and never went below second place throughout the competition.

Ivan, 40, took bronze at the Beijing Olympics and, in 2003 and 2007, was awarded the title of world champion. In July, at the European Championship in Amsterdam, he claimed silver, behind Poland’s Pawel Fajdek (who failed to pass the qualification round in Rio).

Our mixed zone conversation with Ivan Tikhon, right after the final competition, was very positive.

You often came up to the stands, discussing something with the think-tank…

When you’re performing, you, naturally, think about what you’re doing. If someone from the outside can advise you, you combine this with your personal feelings and make better decisions. In this case, my opinion on technical details coincided with Vadim Devyatovsky’s. I was trying to implement it.

The women’s 4x100m relay began just before your sixth attempt, and you had to wait. Did it disturb you?

We’re athletes. If we’re told to throw the hammer in the rain or on ice, we do it. Throwing at the North Pole? No problem! Moments like this, on the contrary, make you focus and exert yourself.

What were you thinking about at that moment?

I was looking for strengths and reserves inside myself, as I’ve found at past competitions. Of course, I want to throw beyond the 80m mark, which is a grandmaster’s result in our sport.

Ivan Tikhon claims silver at Rio Olympic Games

You were almost a metre behind Tajikistan’s Nazarov. Is he stronger than you now?

Dilshod is a very respected athlete, having been involved in this sport for quite some time. He’s a stable, confident guy. We’re all the same, but some do better and some do worse. It’s a given thing. I was fighting and I did my best.

Would the fight have been more interesting if Russia’s Litvinov had been permitted to take part in the Olympics?

The sporting community is a big family. When one child, for instance, Litvinov, is missing, it’s very bad. Issues like this should be solved early and openly in order to see the justice of the decision.

What does this medal mean to you?

A great deal. Before I started preparing for the Games, I lacked competition practice for a long time and felt pressure. Now, I’m happy, although also a little bitter.

What would you like to achieve next?

You know the answer: a gold Olympic medal!

And in your non-sporting life?

I’d like to pass on the experience I’ve gained to another athlete, or via a book, or a research paper, so that we don’t lose the succession in Belarusian hammer throwing.

Will fans see you at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

You know, in 2008, I thought that I’d just matured, that I’d become a man in his full strength and could reach any goal. Yet, Fate had some surprises. Therefore, I won’t anticipate anything. There’s always the desire. If opportunities come, we’ll see.

By Artem Dovlatov
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