Barbora Spotakova in the javelin at the IAAF World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Beijing, China

Preview: women’s javelin – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

The standard in the women’s javelin has taken a step down and a 66-metre throw might well be enough for the gold medal.

But that won’t necessarily lessen the excitement, as it has been a competitive event this year and will be one of the most open events in Beijing as little more than two metres separates the top 14 women in the world.

Joining the top clutch of throwers from Moscow two years ago is Olympic champion and world record-holder Barbora Spotakova, who is among the favourites for the gold medal. She is one of just two throwers to have thrown beyond 65 metres on two occasions this year. And for the 34-year-old Czech, those were her two most recent competitions: 65.00m for second place in London and 65.66m for the win in Stockholm.

The other athlete with two 65-metre results is Germany’s Katharina Molitor. The 31-year-old is yet to win a medal at a senior championships; her best is a fourth-place finish at the 2010 European Championships and fifth at the 2011 World Championships. Molitor threw a 66.40m personal best in Lucerne and won the national title with 65.40m.

Sunette Viljoen is the world leader, but her 66.62m season’s best was set in her first competition of the year back in March. The 2011 world bronze medallist from South Africa has competed seven times since then, throwing between 63 and 64 metres on each occasion.

World silver medallist Kim Mickle is also looking for another medal. The 30-year-old Australian has thrown 66.57m this season and the consistency is there too; she has thrown beyond 63 metres in each of her past three competitions.

US champion Kara Winger enters her fifth global championships. Her best in 2015 is 66.47m set in May and all of her summer competitions have been beyond 60 metres, which would be enough for her first major final.

Germany’s 21-year-old Christin Hussong will be competing at her first World Championships. She won the European under-23 title with a 65.60m personal best and finished seventh at the 2014 European Championships.

Latvian Madara Palameika has made the final once in three tries, but this time she is looking for a podium finish. The 28-year-old national record-holder won at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London with a 65.01m season’s best and was fourth at the European Championships last year.

China will field three women in this event, all of whom are capable of reaching the final, but a medal for the home nation would be a surprise. Lu Huihui, who finished fifth at the 2012 Olympics, has thrown 64.59m this season, while Li Lingwei was eighth in Moscow in 2013 and has a 63.19m season’s best. Zhang Li won the Asian Games title in Incheon last year with a 65.47m Asian record, but she has not thrown in any competitions this season.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF