Harting puts on victory show after winning discus gold medal

Germany's controversial discus thrower Robert Harting put on a crowd-pleasing show of celebration and then went out partying with fans on Wednesday night in Berlin after he won a gold medal at the IAAF world athletics championships.

Harting puts on victory show after winning discus gold medal
Photo: DPA

“I’m pretty tired right now, but I’ll drink three or four Red Bulls and then it’s on,” the 24-year-old told reporters around midnight before heading into the official athletes’ meeting place, the Berlin Champions’ Club, where fans and sponsors waited.

Click here for photo highlights from the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics.

The native Berliner thrilled his hometown fans with a powerful throw in the final round of the men’s discus event to reach 69.43 metres – his best throw to date. That was enough to beat Polish athlete Piotr Malachowski’s throw of 69.15 metres. Defending champion and Olympic gold medallist, Estonian Gerd Kanter, took bronze with 66.88 metres.

Harting went on to tear his shirt off and grab a person dressed as a bear mascot, who he then carried around the stadium on his back before a roaring crowd of 32,000.

His gold medal marked the 50th German win in the IAAF history.

“After Malachowski chucked out the 69.15, I battled with myself internally a bit. And that helped,” Harting said during a press conference. “The crowds were so awesome. That was definitely a comfortable situation for me,” he added.

But fun and games may be over soon for the 2.01-metre-tall Harting, who faces consequences from the DLV German track and field association for making defamatory comments about athletes who were victims of systemic doping under the communist regime in former East Germany.

“I was nervous I would get boos after all the interviews,” Harting said. “Naturally, I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.”

A campaign by the DHO, an association for the support of East German doping victims, made waves at the events by passing out 25,000 foam eyeglasses to draw attention to continued problems caused by doping. On Tuesday, Harting – who is known to be at odds with anti-doping activists – stunned the DLV by insulting the campaign.

“When the discus bounces off the pitch it should hit one of the glasses the doping victims distributed here,” he said. “I’m not a murderer, I just want for them not to see anything else.”

Anti-doping advocates called his comments “embarrassing,” “brutal” and “dumb,” and the DLV has demanded Harting make an official apology on Thursday.

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.