HomeSportsHammer ThrowHammer Throw Event | Its Origin, Equipment, Rules, Techniques- All You Need...
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Hammer Throw Event | Its Origin, Equipment, Rules, Techniques- All You Need to Know

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The hammer throw is one of the four throwing events in regular track and field competitions, along with other events such as discus throw, shot put, and javelin throw. While it is called hammer throw, the supposed “hammer” used in this sport is not like any of the tools also called by that name. It rather consists of a metal ball attached by a steel wire to function as a grip. The size of the metal ball is also subject to the competition, as it varies between men’s and women’s events.

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Hammer Throw: Origin

The origin of the hammer throw dates back to the fifteenth century. The contemporary version of the hammer throw is one of the oldest Olympics Games competitions in the world, with it being held for the first time in the 1900 games in Paris, France.

There also exists another legend regarding the origin of the sport. In 2000 BC times at the Tailteann Games held in Tara, Ireland, a Celtic warrior Culchulainn gripped a chariot wheel by its axle, whirled it around his head, and threw it a huge distance. 

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The wheel was later replaced by a boulder which was attached to a wooden handle and the use of a sledgehammer is considered to have originated in England and Scotland during the Middle Ages.

The men’s hammer throw has been a significant part of the Olympics since 1900. While the first time that the women’s hammer throw was included in the Olympic Games was in the 2000 Games held in Sydney, Australia.

In the international arena, Hungary has dominated in the field of men’s hammer throw, often clinching gold in competitions, whereas, in the women’s division, Poland has had a strong showing.

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Objective & Equipment Involved in Hammer Throw

The primary objective of the game is to throw the metal ball as far as possible from a circle into a marked target area. The larger the distance covered, the better the chances of winning the competition.


The throwers wear lightweight vests and shorts. The shorts may be tight-fitted to support the thighs.


Shoes with no cleats are worn by throwers, which allows maximum adherence and makes the rotation easier.

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The throwers wear a leather gloves with thick fingers. This ensures a solid grip on the handle.

Hammer (metal ball)

Image Source- India Mart

The men’s hammer throw ball weight is around 16 pounds (7.26 kg) and measures 3 feet 11+34 inches (121.3 cm) in length, and the women’s hammer weighs 4 kg (8.82 lb) and 3 ft 11 in (119.4 cm) in length. The metal head of the hammer throw should be of iron, brass, or any other metal but it must be ensured that it is not softer than brass.

Rules of Hammer Throw

  • Before the throw of the hammer, the participants are allowed to keep the head of the hammer inside or outside of the throwing circle.
  • It must be mentioned that it is not considered a foul if the hammer head is put onto the ground before the preliminary swing. However, after the swing, if the hammer touches the ground or is dropped by the athlete, it is considered a foul.
  • When thrown in the air, if the hammer breaks, it will not be counted as foul unless the player has played as per the rules and regulations.
  • It is mandatory that the head of the hammer be made of solid materials, such as the likes of iron, brass, or steel, and should be a spherical shape with specific dimensions.
  • The wire used should be of tough material and should have a minimum diameter of 3mm.
  • The construction of the grip can be either single or double-loop type.
  • The measurement of the hammer should be done from the inside of the grip.

The Playing Area

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The playing area of the sport consists of a throwing circle, a protective cage, and a landing sector. The throwing circle is usually made of concrete and is partly enclosed by a cage that is made of panels of cord or metal. While throwing, the athlete must ensure that his or her foot does not cross the boundary of the throwing circle, doing otherwise will result in elimination.

events in athletics KreedonRead more | Track and Field Events

Hammer Throw: Techniques & Gameplay

The main things that come to mind when we talk about hammer throw are speed, strength, power, and coordination. Combining all these in a correct rhythmic and coordinated manner will result in throwing the ball a great large distance.

  • To attain a perfect throw, the following sequence needs to be followed

Gripping the hammer

Image Source- Track and Field Coach

To grip the hammer, the athlete uses a leather glove with thick fingers. This helps achieve a solid grip thereby aiding in throwing.


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While standing at the back, the athletes swing the hammer in a pendulum motion. While doing this, they ensure that their muscles are relaxed to avoid muscle strain/injury.


Image Source- Wired

The athletes swing the hammers in two to three rotations using their upper bodies and arms.


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After acquiring momentum, the thrower raises the hammer over his head and whirls it.


Image Source- DSU Athletics

In the final step post rotation, the athlete’s legs straighten, the spine stretches, and the arms shoot upward violently. The fingers let go of the grip and the hammer is usually thrown at an angle of 45 degrees and may achieve speeds of up to 112km/hr.

Check out the list national records etched by the Indian Athletics stars- KreedOnRead more | Complete List of National Records Etched by the Indian Athletics Stars

Scoring in Hammer Throw

The athletes have 90 seconds to make each of their allotted six attempts. The one with the best attempt, i.e. the throw which has covered the maximum distance is declared the winner. In the case of ties, the rankings are done based on the second-best throw.

World Records in Hammer Throw

Type Mark Competitor
World Record 86.74m Yuriy SEDYKH
World Championships in Athletics Records 83.63 Ivan TIKHON
World Leading 2022 82.00 Wojciech NOWICKI
Olympic Games Records 84.80 Sergey LITVINOV
Area Records – Africa 81.27 Mostafa ELGAMEL
Area Records – Asia 84.86 Koji MUROFUSHI
Area Records – Europe 86.74 Yuriy SEDYKH

Hammer Throw World Rankings (2022)


Ranking Athlete’s Name
1 Wojciech NOWICKI
2 Paweł FAJDEK
3 Bence HALÁSZ
4 Quentin BIGOT
7 Mykhaylo KOKHAN
8 Daniel HAUGH
10 Gabriel KEHR

 Some notable Indian Hammer Throwers

Praveen Kumar Sobti, Image Source- Outlook India
  •       Praveen Kumar Sobti
  •       Nat Singh Somnath
  •       Jagdev Singh Waraich
  •       Rakesh Kumar Yadav
  •       Kamalpreet Kaur
  •       Harshita Sehrawat

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