Dmitri Tarabin

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    Russia Russia
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    29 OCT 1991
Russia's Dmitri Tarabin celebrates a good throw in the Javelin (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Javelin Throw 88.84 Moskva (Luzhniki) 24 JUL 2013
Javelin Throw (700g) 77.00 Yalta 23 SEP 2008

Progression - Outdoor

Javelin Throw

Performance Place Date
2017 80.70 Adler (Stadion Yunost) 26 MAY
2016 81.56 Zhukovskiy (Meteor) 05 JUN
2015 84.70 Cheboksary (Olimpiyskiy) 04 AUG
2014 85.92 Ostrava (Mestský Stadion) 17 JUN
2013 88.84 Moskva (Luzhniki) 24 JUL
2012 82.75 Daegu 16 MAY
2011 85.10 Yerino 25 JUN
2010 77.65 Cheboksary 19 JUN
2009 69.63 Sarajevo 21 JUN

Javelin Throw (700g)

Performance Place Date
2008 77.00 Yalta 23 SEP
2007 69.58 Eskisehir 11 AUG

Honours - Javelin Throw

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
15th IAAF World Championships 12q1 77.48 Beijing (National Stadium) 24 AUG 2015
14th IAAF World Championships 3 86.23 Moskva (Luzhniki) 17 AUG 2013
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 10 79.06 Daegu (DS) 03 SEP 2011
13th IAAF World Junior Championships 3 76.42 Moncton (Moncton Stadium) 23 JUL 2010

Honours - Javelin Throw (700g)

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
5th IAAF World Youth Championships 11q1 62.45 Ostrava 11 JUL 2007

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31 July 2013


Dmitry TARABIN, Russia (before 10 July 2010 – Moldova, (Javelin)

Born: 29 October 1991, Berlin

Lives: Krasnodar

1.82m / 94 kg

Coach: Mikhail Mikheyev

At just 21, talented javelin thrower Dmitry Tarabin has more interesting bio details to share than most of his older competitors. Born in Berlin in the family of a military officer, he already had a professional baseball career, changed his citizenship from Moldovan to Russian, married his colleague Olympic medallist Mariya Abakumova, and finally made a real breakthrough in the 2013 season, winning the European Team Championships in Gateshead with a PB of 85.99m which ranked him number 3 in the world, and then improving to a World Leading 88.84 at the Russian Championships on 24 July.

This all started at the kindergarten in Germany, where Tarabin was the only kid able to do 20 press-ups. His father, former boxer and at the time military officer, paid special attention to the son’s physical education. “My father used to say that a real man must be strong. So we were constantly running and doing press-ups. This made me very different from other kids who had no idea of training at such early age,” Tarabin recalls.

When Dmitry was about 6, the family moved from Berlin back to the Moldovan republic of Pridnestrovye. “I don’t even remember the German language now, and I consider Pridnestrovye is my motherland,” Tarabin says. When he became a schoolboy, he joined multiple sports clubs, including his father’s favourite one – boxing.

“Somehow I didn’t like boxing at once, so I did it only for 1.5 years,” Tarabin comments. “All together, before athletics I tried about 14 different sports! Some I did just for several days, for three years I played tennis, and the most serious one was baseball. I did it for 4 years and even travelled with the national team to the European Youth championships.”

It was during the baseball career when Tarabin discovered his ability to throw the ball much farther than others. “The problem was that I could throw far but my shots were not accurate. The coaches moved me to the farthest end of the field because of my strong throw, but it was still hard for me to hit the target,” Dmitry laughs.

His vocation for throwing far was absolutely great for the javelin. Once Tarabin saw at the stadium a javelin coach Alexandr Moiseyenko and was brave enough to come up himself and say that he wanted to join the group. After the first training, Moiseyenko was happy to invite Tarabin to the world of javelin. For a while Dmitry combined athletics with baseball, but very soon it became evident where his future lay.

“When I just started with the javelin, we made a bet with one guy, who was older than me and much more experienced,” Tarabin recalls. “The guy had his PB 55m, and I could throw only 38m. I promised that by the end of the year I would beat him. All season I had been working like a crazy man, but in the end I beat him by 5 meters. That was my first real victory over myself.”

Not yet 16, Tarabin competed for Moldova at the World Youth Championships in Ostrava, where he did not manage to pass qualification.

A year later, he was part of the senior team at the European Cup 2nd League, and set there his PB, 67.39m. After another PB 69.63m in 2009 at the European Team Championships 3rd League meeting in Banska Bystrica, Tarabin made his decision to leave the Moldovan team and start to compete for Russia.

“After I graduated from school, I entered the sports college in Moscow and moved there,” Tarabin explains. “I started to train under my new coach Mikhail Mikheyev, and the level of preparation and the conditions were much better than in Moldova. Back at home we even had to buy the javelins ourselves.”

As Tarabin had double citizenship, it did not take long to make his country change official. IAAF granted the permission for Tarabin to represent Russia starting from 10 July 2010, and already in summer 2010 Dmitry won his first medal for the new country, being third at the World Junior Championships in Moncton.

“Now it sounds funny, but for me the biggest holiday back then was the day when I got the Russian national uniform,” Tarabin smiles. “I was so very proud that put it straight on and walked the corridors of our dorm, and everyone was turning their heads on me. And of course I could not miss the opening ceremony at the World Juniors. I am still patriotic and really sentimental about such things as walking through the stadium under the flag of my country.”

Tarabin’s result in Moncton was about a metre shy of his PB set at the Russian Juniors. But still this was enough for his first bronze medal on the international stage. And considering the circumstances, Tarabin was really happy.

“My biggest mistake was that a day before qualification I spent four (!) hours playing tennis,” Dmitry explains. “With another guy from the team we just saw the court, he said that he would beat me, I got too much excited, and we ended up playing till we almost died. The next day the guy did not make his qualification at all, I still managed it, but I almost did not feel my body. That was the lesson – no active games before the competition anymore!”

“Another funny memory from Moncton is the shop “1 dollar for any item,” which we first discovered in Canada,” Tarabin continues. “I remember we almost cleared up the shelves, buying different trinkets, signs and all the small things. Now I have no idea why we needed so many of them, but back in 2010 we all bought tons of souvenirs.”

Tarabin’s career was developing step by step, as in 2011 he was third at the European U23 Championships in Ostrava, and also managed to qualify for the World Championships in Daegu. Though he placed only 10th at his first major senior international outing, what was much more important, Tarabin managed in Daegu to steal the heart of his future wife, Olympic 2008 silver medallist Mariya Abakumova.

“I first noticed Mariya at the training camp back in 2009,” Tarabin recalls. “I just paid attention to a pretty girl, and only later my friend told me she was a famous athlete. What I loved, was her kindness - Mariya there used to feed homeless dogs. In 2011 we again were together at the pre-Daegu training camp in Vladivostok. We went fishing together, and although Mariya was extremely lucky, she let all the fish go back into the sea. I noticed that when she was at the stadium I always tried to throw as far as I could. I just wanted to impress her! Just by chance we were sitting next to each other on the plane to Daegu, and actually I was sorry the flight was so short!”

The next season 2012 was great for Tarabin’s personal life but ruined his plans to qualify for the London Olympic Games. Dmitry injured his right shoulder at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava. And though he managed to heal it without a surgery, he still missed preparation time and finished only 4th at the national Olympic trials. Though Tarabin had made the Olympic qualification standard 16 times over the qualification period of 1 May 2011- 8 July 2012, and later won the U23 national Champs with another throw of 81.61m, the coaches still decided not to include him in the Olympic team.

“This was the hardest moment in my career up to date, as I’ve always dreamt of competing at the Olympic Games,” Tarabin comments. “First I wanted to come to London to cheer for Mariya. But then we decided it would be too hard for me to watch the Olympic javelin competition from the stands. I still have Rio 2016 ahead, and I definitely want to come there as a competitor and not as a tourist.”

As if to balance the professional disappointment, Tarabin’s love story with Abakumova developed like in a fairy tale. “We count 14 February 2012 as an official start of our relationship,” Dmitry says. “On that day I presented to Mariya a beautiful bunch of white roses. The main problem was we lived in different cities – I in Moscow, and Mariya in Krasnodar. But from February, my endless flights to her place started. I could spend maximum three days alone in Moscow, and then just bought a ticket and flew to her. We always promised to each other to stay apart for at least two weeks, but I just came to Moscow and next day was again booking my flight to Krasnodar!”

In autumn 2012 Tarabin and Abakumova got married, and Dmitry finally moved to Krasnodar. Although he still did not leave his coach Mikhail Mikheyev, now the family duo also trains under Estonian Heino Puuste.

“I hugely admire Mikheyev because he did not change my technique, which is rather unusual,” Tarabin says. “He said it was my personal style which suited me better than the classical one, and I believe he is right. But after marriage we decided with Mariya that we would try to be together both at training camps and at competitions.”

“Before I used to spend about 6-7 months from September to May in Adler,” Tarabin continues. “This was really hard mentally, I knew by face even every vender at the local market! But before this season with Mariya we spent 2 months in Adler, then 1 month in Spain, 2 months in Estonia… This change was refreshing, and trainings went much easier than if I had stayed always at the same place.”

The results of this change in the training regime did not make Tarabin wait too long. In 2013 he set his new PB, 85.99m winning his first senior international title at the European Team Championships in Gateshead. He also twice was third at the Diamond League meetings in Shanghai and Birmingham and second in Monaco, which led him into the field of elite throwers.

“Maybe the main reason of my progress is that I was really angry at myself after the Olympic season,” Tarabin explains. “This time I was injury-free and had nice preparation. I started to pay more attention to sprints and raised my results in the gym. After all, I am still young – maybe I just matured and my time has come.”

But Tarabin was to improve even more, and on 24 July, at the Russian Championships in Moscow, he threw 88.84m – the longest throw since August 2011. The Universiade winner dominated the event, opening with 84.49, then three more throws over 80m before unleashing his huge PB in the last round.

“I’m a little tired as I’m training with the World Championships in mind. So I did not expect such a result today. Tarabin told interviewers after his feat.

“I recently watched videos from the 1980 Olympic Games, it was amazing and I hope that the stadium for the World Championships is also filled because support from the audience is very important.”

When asked about his hobbies, Tarabin names hiking and fishing. Together with Abakumova, they love to spend their free time somewhere up in the mountains, enjoying the barbecue and beautiful nature. “I really appreciate it that Mariya shares my passion and prefers to spend the night in a tent and not in a 5 star hotel. This just proves we found each other in this world, and she is my best motivation both in sports and in everyday life,” Tarabin comments. 

Personal Best

88.84 (2013)

Yearly Progression

2007: 69.58 (700g); 2008: 67.39; 2009: 69.63; 2010: 77.65; 2011: 85.10; 2012: 82.75; 2013: 88.84


Career Highlights

2007    11q      World Youth Championships (Ostrava)                                              62.45

2008    4th        European Cup 2nd League (Banska Bystrica)                                    67.39

2009    1st        European Team Championships 3rd League (Sarajevo)                    69.63

2010    1st        Russian Junior Championships (Cheboksary)                                   77.65

2010    3rd        World Junior Championships (Moncton)                                            76.42

2011    3rd        European Winter Throwing Cup U23 (Sofia)                                     78.61

2011    1st        Russian U23 Championships (Yerino)                                               85.10

2011    3rd        European U23 Championships (Ostrava)                                          83.18

2011    3rd        Russian Championships (Cheboksary)                                              80.20

2011    10th      World Championships (Daegu)                                                          79.06

2012    2nd       European Winter Throwing Cup (Bar)                                                79.94

2012    4th        Russian Championships (Cheboksary)                                              76.48

2012    1st        Russian U23 Championships (Yerino)                                                81.61

2013    1st        Russian Winter Championships (Adler)                                              85.63

2013    1st        European Team Championships (Gateshead)                                    85.99

2013    1st        World Universiade (Kazan)                                                                 83.11

2013    1st        Russian Championships (Moscow)                                                      88.84

Prepared by Natalia Maryanchik for IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2013.

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