Andreas Thorkildsen wins his second successive Olympic javelin title (Getty Images) © Copyright

Men’s Javelin Throw PREVIEW - ÅF Golden League Jackpot

MonteCarloWith the start of the ÅF Golden League only five days away we continue our Jackpot Event Previews with a summary of who to look out for in the men’s Javelin Throw, which is one of the ten events applicable for the $1 Million ÅF Golden League Jackpot in 2009.

NOTE: As with all competitions there are likely to be changes to the start list in the final days before this year’s ÅF Golden League commences at the DKB-ISTAF Berlin meeting on Sunday 14 June, and therefore these event category previews are correct as of information available at the time of publication.

Men’s Javelin Throw

On of the finest head-to-head rivalries in the sport will continue at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday (14) with the 42nd meeting between Norwegian Andreas Thorkildsen, the two-time Olympic champion, and Finn Tero Pitkämäki, the reigning World champion.

Just how close are the world’s two premiere javelin throwers? Since their first meeting at the 2001 European junior championships, where Thorkildsen was second and Pitkämäki fifth, the pair have met 41 times, with the Finn bringing a narrow 22-19 edge to the German capital.

Last year, Thorkildsen took a narrow four to three edge in head-to-heads, with each taking home three victories in ÅF Golden League competition. But the Norwegian was the only man in the world last season to throw beyond the still-formidable 90m line, reaching 90.57m in Beijing to retain his Olympic title and then 90.28m in Zurich just six days later.

When the rivalry resumed last weekend, Thorkildsen drew first blood, on the Finn’s home turf no less, in Seinäjoki. Thorkildsen threw 88.97m to take the victory, with Pitkämäki reaching 82.90 for third. The situation was similar a year ago, when Pitkämäki arrived in Berlin on the heels of a loss in his season opener, only to beat Thorkildsen by a mere centimetre at the Olympic stadium.

But neither will kick off their Jackpot ambitions as the world season leader. That role belongs to Latvian Vadims Vasilevskis, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist who also took the World Athletics Final title last year, whose spear last month landed at 90.71m at a national meeting in Valmiera, Latvia, the third 90m-plus effort of his career and just two centimetres shy of his national record from 2007.

Also in the field is another formidable Latvian Ainars Kovals, the man who finished between Thorkildsen and Pitkämäki in Beijing to take Olympic silver. The 27-year-old will come to Berlin with victories in two of his four outings this season.

2003 World champion Sergey Makarov of Russia is another standout name, and there will be also be plenty of other Finnish flair in the field. Tero Järvenpää, a finalist at the 2007 World Championships who was fourth in Beijing last summer, is also on the start list, along with Teemu Wirkkala, who was fifth in Beijing and second behind Thorkildsen last weekend in Seinäjoki, and 87m man Antti Ruuskanen.


There are TEN ÅF Golden League event disciplines designated to the Jackpot in 2009, five events for men and five for women, as follows:

Men: 100m, 400m, 3000m/5000m, 110m Hurdles, Javelin Throw.
Women: 100m, 400m, 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Pole Vault.

Athletics’ biggest yearly payday - ÅF Golden League Jackpot

The prize - $1 Million

The requirement - ‘6 out of 6’

The annual drama that is the season long campaign to claim the $1 Million Jackpot offered by the ÅF Golden League continues in 2009 with its ‘winner takes all’ ethos. Athletes are required to win at all six meetings in the series to acquire at least a share of athletics’ biggest yearly payday.

The possibility of a secondary prize also exists:

To sustain the active participation in the Jackpot of as many athletes as possible through to the culmination of the series, should NO athlete manage to attain six wins and claim the $1 Million, then anyone with five victories will share half the original prize - $500,000. NOTE. this secondary prize is only on offer should nobody win his or her event at all six meetings.

Cities and Dates for 2009 -

Berlin, GER – Sunday 14 June
Oslo, NOR – Friday 3 July
Rome, ITA – Friday 10 July
Paris, FRA – Friday 17 July
Zürich, SUI – Friday 28 August
Brussels, BEL – Friday 4 September

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF