The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Sweden’s Sofi Flinck proved to have the virtue of competitiveness in these championships. Coming to Barcelona with a 54.84 performance, she already destroyed that mark in the qualifying round to set a new national record of 58.16. However, the woman to beat tonight seemed to be China’s Shiying Liu, the world leader at 58.47.
Flinck was the early leader thanks to a 56.09 first-round release for Liu’s 54.77 in second and Poland’s Karolina Boldysz’s 53.51 in third place but the Chinese responded well on her second try measured at 59.20, a new world leading performance. Meanwhile the Cuban Ismaray Armentero threw 54.54 in round 2 to place third.
Serbia’s Marija Vucenovic, who had begun with a poor release and a foul, bounced back in round 3 to get 57.12, a throw which would remain her best of the evening. The Serbian rose to the bronze medal position and kept it until the end of the contest despite fouling her closing three efforts.
Flinck produced a very consistent series of further throws (55.22, 55.59, 53.91 and 56.71 for a slight improvement in round 5) but seemed unable to overtake the Chinese Liu who fouled her third and fourth attempts and didn’t try the last two.
At the penultimate throw of the evening, Flinck obliterated her previous best and Liu’s leading mark to unleash a massive heave of 61.40 and lift the gold medal with over two metres to spare.
Coached by Vesa Jämsä, Flinck is the first Swedish girl to take a medal in the throwing events at the championships. She commented: "This is amazing. I didn’t expect the results to turn out this way. I was really nervous and to deal with the stress I just tried to concentrate on what I do best. I have now been practicing javelin throw for six years. The decision to come to sports was partly made because of the example of my parents as my father is also a javelin thrower and my mother is a soccer player".