Jakub Vadlejch

Athlete Profile

    Czech Republic Czech Republic
    10 OCT 1990

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Javelin Throw 88.02 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 27 AUG 2016
Javelin Throw (700g) 76.93 Tábor 28 SEP 2007

Progression - Outdoor

Javelin Throw

Performance Place Date
2016 88.02 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 27 AUG
2015 86.21 Karlstad 22 JUL
2014 82.97 Kuortane 13 JUL
2013 75.85 Stará Boleslav 28 AUG
2012 80.40 Potchefstroom 24 MAR
2011 84.08 Domažlice 24 SEP
2010 84.47 Olomouc 08 MAY
2009 81.95 Domažlice 26 SEP
2008 76.57 Praha 16 SEP

Javelin Throw (700g)

Performance Place Date
2007 76.93 Tábor 28 SEP

Honours - Javelin Throw

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXXI Olympic Games 8 82.42 Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico) 20 AUG 2016
15th IAAF World Championships 8q1 78.95 Beijing (National Stadium) 24 AUG 2015
The XXX Olympic Games 10q2 77.61 London (Olympic Stadium) 08 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 8q1 80.08 Daegu (DS) 01 SEP 2011
12th IAAF World Junior Championships 10 68.79 Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 11 JUL 2008

Honours - Javelin Throw (700g)

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
5th IAAF World Youth Championships 12 65.63 Ostrava 12 JUL 2007

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Compiled 14 July 2016


Jakub VADLEJCH, Czech Republic (Javelin Throw)


Born: 10 October 1990, Prague, Czech Republic

Coach: Jan Zelezny

Club: Dukla Praha (Sports Army Club)



It was the season of his life; he improved his personal best three times, but once again failed to succeed at the major competition. After 2015, Jakub Vadlejch showed he can throw very far and he continued to improve also this year. Will his first major international medal come in Rio? This is the question also for his coach, World record holder Jan Zelezny, who says Vadlejch is the biggest talent in his training group (which also includes former javelin throw World champion Vitezslav Vesely).


“I think, last year finally showed me what my abilities are and I enjoyed every event,” commented the blond, quiet boy from the Czech capital. He started athletics when he was ten, in the Kovosrot Praha athletic club. However, the real passion for this sport came under the leadership of his coach Petr Behensky. “I have tried many sports and I was very good at floorball. But the desire for an individual success and knowing personal limits led me to the athletics,” said Vadlejch in retrospective.


Very soon, as a teenager, he started to train under the leadership of a new coach, Rudolf Cerny, with Czech javelin superstar Barbora Spotakova. She became a big inspiration for the young 18-year-old thrower who, at this age, broke the 80 metres barrier for the first time. His first international competition came in 2007, when he finished twelfth at the World Youth championships in Ostrava. In 2008, he added tenth place from the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz. The following year, he managed to improve the Czech junior record to 81.95 in September. “I was throwing very naturally at the time. I did not understand what my legs and arms were doing,” confessed Vadlejch.


Cooperation with Rudolf Cerny finished in August 2010. When his team mate Spotakova decided to change coach after eleven years, Vadlejch followed her to the Jan Zelezny group. Just before that, he had started at the European Championships in Barcelona, his first senior international competition, where he did not make it from the qualification rounds, with 76.04. In time, Spotakova returned to her former coach, in 2015, after she had become a mother and wanted to have a different training program. But Vadlejch stayed with his new team mates – Vitezslav Vesely and Petr Frydrych.


It took him five years until he understood the javelin technique. His personal best from Olomouc 2010 (84.47) remained unchanged until 2015, when he finally improved it at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on 9 July, with 85.15. “I had accumulated many mistakes and then my ankle problems started. My technique just broke down. I had to return to my former throwing style,” explained Vadlejch. Health and mental peace – that is the recipe for good performance for Jakub Vadlejch, who had big technical problems from 2011 to 2014 and struggled to regularly break 80 metres.


At the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Olympic Games in London, or the 2014 European Championships in Zürich, he always ended up with a substandard throwing performance in the qualification rounds.


But things started to improve step by step. His first throw over 86 metres came on 22 July 2015 in Karlstad (86.21). It was his last meeting before the World Championships in Beijing, so Vadlejch felt ready to fight for the podium in China.


However, destiny played its own game with Kuba, as they call Jakub at home. The eighth man in the world rankings that year, going into the major event, still had to qualify into the final at the third attempt, but he stumbled and fell close to the line. It was a very long attempt, over the qualification mark of 83 metres, but it was a foul. The gates to the final remained closed for the Czech athlete. A similar thing had happened to his coach, Jan Zelezny in Tokyo 1991, so history repeated itself after 24 years. “I do not want to discuss it anymore. The referee said it was a foul so I have to accept it,” Vadlejch closed the discussion.


Preparation for the Olympic year went well and Vadlejch started to throw far from the beginning of the 2016 summer season. Already during the ten weeks’ training camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa, he managed to set the world leading mark of 85.54 on 22 April.


His shape improved in Kawasaki, where he threw a winning mark of 86.76, a new personal best, on 8 May. Kawasaki must definitely be one of the favourite places for Vadlejch. He had also improved his personal best there at the beginning of 2015, to 85.13 - his first time over 85. It had taken him almost five years to reach that new PB.


A week later, in Shanghai, he ended up second with a solid 84.77. “I have a stable performance which is good,” he said, but knew that the technique was still not perfect. He also started to feel tiredness from the long flights.


In Eugene, he finished fourth, in Oslo sixth, in Stockholm eighth. But in the qualification of the European Championships, in Amsterdam, he showed a good shape again, throwing 85.06 - his second best performance. Nevertheless, he did not manage to repeat it in the


In his free time, Vadlejch enjoys his cottage in the Sumava Mountains with his girlfriend Lucie Slanickova, Slovak 400m Hurdles runner. The biggest relaxation for him is gardening and strolling in the streets of Prague, finishing off with a good coffee.


He says he is still waiting for the throw of his lifetime. Conditions, technique and form – everything has to come together at the same time. Then, the javelin can fly even over 90 metres. “I still hope I am not in the peak throwing age yet. They say it comes sometimes around 30. I think my limits are somewhere else. I hope I will get close to them sometimes in the future,” he said.



Personal Bests

Javelin Throw: 86.76 (2016)


Yearly Progression

Javelin Throw: 2007: 66.12; 2008: 76.57; 2009: 81.95 NJR; 2010: 84.47; 2011: 84.08; 2012: 80.40; 2013: 75.85; 2014: 82.97; 2015: 86.21; 2016: 86.76 PB


Career Highlights

2007   12th     World Youth Championships (Ostrava)                                                   65.63

2008   1st        Czech Junior Championships (Prague)                                                   65.84

2008   10th     World Junior Championships (Bydgoszcz)                                               68.79

2008   1st        Czech U23 Championships (Prague)                                                     73.08

2009   1st        Czech Junior Championships (Ostrava)                                                 70.71

2009   2nd       Czech Championships (Prague)                                                              76.24

2009   8th        European Junior Championships (Novi Sad)                                           69.63 

2010   2nd       Czech Championships (Trinec)                                                                78.52

2010   16q     European Championships (Barcelona)                                                       76.04

2010   2nd       Czech U23 Championships (Breclav)                                                      73.10

2011   2nd       Czech Championships (Brno)                                                                  78.52

2011   nm      European U23 Championships (Ostrava)                                                        

2011   16q     World Championships (Daegu)                                                                80.08

2011   2nd       Czech U23 Championships (Pisek)                                                         72.76

2012   3rd        Czech Championships (Vyskov)                                                              72.42

2012   25q     Olympic Games (London)                                                                          77.61

2013   2nd       European Team Championships, 2nd League (Dubnica nad Vahom)          72.86

2013   3rd        Czech Championships (Tabor)                                                                 69.98

2014   1st        European Team Championships, Super League

                                                                                 (Vila Real de San Antonio)            76.41

2014   1st        Czech Championships (Ostrava)                                                             81.26

2014   20q     European Championships (Zürich)                                                           75.14

2015   1st        European Team Championships, First League (Mersin)                            81.91

2015   1st        Czech Championships (Plzen)                                                                 81.91

2015   20q     World Championships (Beijing)                                                                 78.95

2016   9th        European Championships (Amsterdam)                                                 78.12


Prepared by Zuzana Trojakova for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2016