Barbora Spotakova in the javelin at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

Preview: women's javelin – IAAF World Championships London 2017

If any event can properly illustrate some of the generational changing of the guard that these championships will represent, it's the women's javelin.

Among the key protagonists are world record-holder Barbora Spotakova, the two-time Olympic winner, and Sara Kolak, the Croat who succeeded her as Olympic champion last summer. At 36, Spotakova is the field's Grand Dame, the oldest; Kolak, barely 22, is the field's third youngest. And both are set for a collision course in the same London Stadium where Spotakova won her second Olympic gold.

The pair swapped places in the two best competitions of the year, Kolak winning the Lausanne leg of the IAAF Diamond League with a 68.43m effort, the farthest in the world this season and another national record, with Spotakova finishing second with 67.40m, her best throw since 2014.

Three days the later she turned the tables on Kolak on her first 2017 visit to the British capital, throwing 68.26m, her farthest since 2012, to win the London leg of the IAAF Diamond League. Kolak performed well there too, reaching 67.83m, the second best throw of her young career.

Kolak’s final London tune-up came at the European U23 Championships on 16 July where she prevailed with 65.12m while Spotakova collected two more wins in as many outings, reaching 63.72m in Rabat and 62.62m in Tabor.

Spotakova won the world title in 2007 and took back-to-back silver in 2009 and 2011; should she succeed to regain her title a decade on, she'll become the event’s third two-time winner.

While they've been a class apart in the lead-in to London, on paper at least they can expect company.

China's Liu Shiying is another rising star in the event who has competed well in 2017. The 23-year-old has thrown beyond 65 metres on three occasions, capped by a 66.47m Asian record at the Kawasaki leg of the IAAF World Challenge in late May.

The field also includes defending world champion Katharina Molitor, although the 33-year-old hasn't shown form similar to that which propelled her to the title in Beijing in what was the German's finest season. She'll arrive in London with a modest 62.26m season's best from early May in Offenburg, one of just two 2017 victories she's garnered in 10 competitions.

There's also Turkey's Eda Tugsuz, this season's third thrower to reach beyond 67 metres. The 20-year-old popped a 67.21m effort in Baku in May, her fourth national record of the year. She hasn't come close since, however, and couldn't finish better than fourth at the European U23 Championships in mid July, reaching 62.37m.

Others to watch include Australia's Kathryn Mitchell who has improved to 66.12m; European champion Tatsiana Khaladovich of Belarus, who has reached a near-PB of 66.30m this season; and Slovenian record-holder Martina Ratej who threw 64.85m in London to start as her country's strongest medal hope.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF