Barbora Spotakova, winner of the javelin at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report London, UK

Report: women's javelin final – IAAF World Championships London 2017

A decade after winning her first global crown at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Barbora Spotakova did it again in London to become just the third woman to claim the title more than once.

The 36-year-old Czech, who has won two Olympic titles and set the still-standing 72.28m world record in the decade since, controlled the competition from the second round when she sent her spear sailing 66.76m. It would hold out as the winning distance in a close competition with China's Li Lingwei applying the pressure in nearly every round. Some, but not enough.

"At this stadium, I am unbeatable. There must be something in the air about London," said Spotakova, whose second Olympic crown came in this stadium.

"I cannot explain it but when I enter this stadium, I always feel so calm and relaxed. I believed I could really win it today, I was so focused and confident."

Li's teammate Lyu Huihui, who led the qualifying round two days ago with her 67.59m Asian record, led after a low-key first round with 62.71m. Spotakova was visibly disappointed with her 58.48m opener but bounced back quickly in round two, unleashing her 66.76m effort, which would remain the marker for the remainder of the competition.

Olympic champion Sara Kolak hit 64.95m in the same round, with Eda Tugsuz of Turkey throwing 64.52m, the best the pair would offer on the night.

Li, twice the Asian champion, sparked the competition to life in round three with a 66.25m throw, a lifetime best by more than a metre, to move into second and signal her title ambitions. However, that would be the closest anyone would come to denying the Czech her second title.

"I'll remember this night for the rest of my life," Spotakova told the crowd immediately after her final throw, a 63.75m toss delivered and thrown as much by her powerful arm as with the wide smile crossing her face.

Lyu improved to 65.26m in the fifth round to move ahead of Kolak to third to secure a 2-3 finish for China. The Croat, who surprised with her triumph in Rio last summer, was uneven throughout the evening, and never really a threat.

Tugsuz, at 20, the youngest in the field, was fifth with her 64.52m throw, ahead of Tatsiana Khaladovich of Belarus, who reached 64.05m. Defending champion Katharina Molitor of Germany was seventh, with her 63.75m best coming in the second round as well.

It was the first javelin competition in history in which 12 women threw beyond 60 metres.

Earlier this season, Spotakova suggested that replicating her global success in London could lead to a decision to bow out of the sport after this season. She didn't confirm that immediately after the competition this evening, but was clearly feeling nostalgic.

"The whole day I was thinking about my last world title which was ten years ago in Osaka," she said. "Actually, it is also almost exactly five years since my Olympic title here in London. These facts made me feel very emotional and I could not believe it has been already such a long time ago. I do not even know if I deserve this title today, it felt so easy."

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF