09 JUL 2011 Report Lille, France

Boys’ Javelin Throw – surprising van Zyl breaks PB by 11 metres to claim gold

Reinhard Van Zyl of South Africa the World Youth Javelin Throw champion (Getty Images)Reinhard Van Zyl of South Africa the World Youth Javelin Throw champion (Getty Images) © Copyright

Looking at the start lists for the Boys’ Javelin Throw final one would have expected a South African to dominate the event; as it turned out a South African did dominate the final just not the one we expected!


16-year-old Morné Moolman who was the only athlete having broken 80 metres this season entered the championships as the man to beat; he strengthened his position as favourite for gold following his competition record 83.16 in yesterday’s qualification round but in tonight’s final he was unable to break the 80 metres line until his fifth attempt.


It was a whole different story for Reinhard van Zyl who improved his personal best 71.75 with no fewer than four of his five legal throws this evening.


Van Zyl opened with a PB 74.02 an effort which placed him in bronze medal position after the end of the first round behind China’s Guisheng Zhang at 74.68 and the Ukraine’s Yuriy Kushniruk at 74.22. Moolman had opened with a very disappointing 66.75!


It was time for the second round and time for van Zyl to unleash what would remain the winning throw of the competition, a massive 82.96, an improvement of almost an additional 9 metres!


Moolman had meanwhile fouled finding himself in trouble down in sixth with Zhang improving to 75.58 for second and Povilas Dabasinskas of Lithuania jumping into fourth at 74.16.


Van Zyl fouled his third attempt, a round which saw 3 athletes improving starting from Moolman who final put a decent throw together to leapfrog into second at 78.39. Dabasinskas moved to third at 75.87 with Finland’s Joni Karvinen, the only other man to break 80 metres the previous day in qualifying, moving into fifth with 74.49.


As the order was reversed Moolman seemed to have renewed with his technique his fourth attempt being measured at 80.99, he was still in second. Zhang was eager to set the record straight as he solidly grabbed bronze improving to 75.95, 76.40 and 77.62 in his final 3 throws.


Kushniruk also improve with his last two throws at 76.11 and 77.10 respectively but would remain in fourth just ahead of Dabasinskas and Karvinen.


“To be the champion? It’s very nice,” said an ecstatic van Zyl. “I beat a friend. I just want to say I’m a champion, it’s fantastic. Thank you my coach, thank you my team.”


Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF