The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Of the qualification competitions of the throwing events so far contested at the London Olympics the women’s Javelin Throw has been of the highest of standards, with 9 of the 12 finalists making it through automatically (62.00m or more).
In Group A, the fourth throw of the morning brought an easy qualification for reigning Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic whose spear landed at 66.19m. Impressive, as only six throwers including herself have thrown that far this entire season.
Of those women two others were also competing in Group A. Germany’s Christina Obergföll, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, was in sparkling form throwing just five centimetres less than the Czech, with Slovenia’s record holder Martina Ratej producing a second round 63.90 to also proceed to Thursday’s final.
The other automatic qualifier from the first of two pools was Linda Stahl. The German, a former European champion, who took bronze in Helsinki this summer made her way to the final with a first release of 64.78.
Britain’s Goldie Sayers, 4th in Beijing, who had beaten most of the world elite when setting a British record (66.17) at the recent London Diamond League meeting but had suffered an elbow injury later in that competition, was in obvious pain and had three fouls in this group. Also not making it through was 2008 Olympic finalist Li Zhang of China (58.35), and USA record holder Kara Patterson, who has thrown 66.67 this summer, but could only produce 56.23 here.
"I am happy because it was an easy throw. I feel the pressure already from a year ago, so before (the throw) I was nervous and I couldn't wait for it to be over," confirmed Spotakova. "It was a good qualification. I didn't put 100% into it. The crowd is amazing, it's so loud I had to cover my ears sometimes. I carry ear plugs for that."
In Group B, World season leader Sunette Viljoen of South Africa, the continental record holder (69.35), throwing sixth in the order needed just one release – 65.92.
Three more of the five automatics from this Group also made it through to the final in two days’ time with their opening efforts. Former Asian record holder Huihui Lu of China produced 64.45, Russia’s reigning World champion Maria Abakumova, the silver medallist four years ago, was next best in the group (63.25), with the surprise of the day coming with Asdis Hjalmsdottir whose 62.77 was a national record, improving on her 61.37 from 2009.
Making it three Germans in the final, Kathrina Molitor, who was 8th in Beijing, was the last of this group’s five automatics with 62.05.
Qualifying as the best of the rest were Latvia’s Madara Palameika (60.62), Elizabeth Gleadle (60.26), and Australian Kathyrn Mitchell (60.11).
The non-qualification of Ukraine’s newly crowned European champion Vira Rebryk, who has thrown 66.86 (5th best in the world in 2012), was the biggest shock of this group. The 23 year-old made a best today of only 58.97. Also failing to make the grade was China’s Asian record holder Lingwei Li (56.50).
I'm so happy, so pleased with the throw, it felt good," said Viljoen. "I threw over 65m so I'm very happy. It is something I've dreamed of and have worked so hard (for) it is unbelievable. Everybody in my country has been saying good luck. I am happy for myself and my country. If I end up with a medal it will be really special for myself and my country and it's nice to have that confidence. I take a lot of pride in what I do. I'm fast, I'm quick, I'm strong and I believe. So anything in is possible."