After so many near misses at the IAAF World Championships and Olympic Games, Germany’s Christina Obergfoll was determined not to let the gold medal slip from her grasp on this occasion and fulfilled her role as the favourite with a winning throw of 69.05m.
At the previous four World Championships, Obergfoll had finished second in 2005 and 2007, fifth in 2009 and fourth in 2011. At the London 2012 Olympic Games last year, she was again runner-up to add to her bronze from 2008, and she was second at the past two editions of the European Championships.
This season though, the 31-year-old Obergfoll has been in outstanding form and won seven of her eight competitions.
She already has the 2013 Diamond Race secure after victories in New York, Eugene, Rome, Paris and London, so anything less than first place would have not only been an upset but a bitter disappointment to the personable blonde-haired former European record-holder.
Local hope and 2011 World champion Maria Abakumova never found her best form in the final, in the wake of her reaching 69.09m in qualifying which was farther than Obergfoll’s winning effort, but the Russian tossed the spear out to 65.09m in the first round to take an early lead.
However, she never improved and had to settle for the bronze medal, which will sit alongside the one of a similar hue won by her husband Dmitri Tarabin in the men’s final on Saturday.
After 64.63m in the first round and throwing 12th in the final, so able to watch her rivals and assess their form, Obergfoll then grabbed her chance and unleashed a season’s best of 69.05m with her second throw.
On a still evening in the Luzhniki Stadium which was generally far from conducive to big throws, that throw clinched the competition. Obergfoll then threw 64.02m and 62.93m with her next two throws before fouls in rounds five and six as she tried to improve.
However, she didn’t need to as she eventually won by more than two metres.
Behind Obergfoll, Australia’s Kimberley Mickle had the competition of her life and will look back at Moscow with fond memories.
After her personal best of 65.73m in qualifying, she threw another best with 66.25m in the second round to briefly take the lead, before Obergfoll took her turn five throws later.
With her final throw, Mickle, smiling broadly and secure of getting a medal, then improved to 66.60m.
The top two were thrilled with their places and achievement but it was not difficult to see the disappointment on Abakumova’s face at a championships when so many Russians have risen to the occasion in front of their family and friends.
Not only did she relinquish her World crown but it was also a case of history repeating itself for Abakumova from four years ago, in Berlin 2009, when she also threw farther than the eventual winning mark in qualifying only to end up third on that occasion as well.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF