Maria Abakumova of Russia celebrates victory in the women's javelin throw final (© Getty Images)
Russia’s Mariya Abakumova, the 2011 World Championships javelin gold medallist, continued her campaign to retain her title on home soil in Moscow later this year when she threw 69.34m on the first day of the European Cup Winter Throwing in the Spanish town of Castellon on Saturday (16).
Abakumova’s series was: 57.95m, 65.58m, 66.33m, 64.75m, foul, 69.34m. It was the third best competition of her career and her best throw outside of a major championships.
Her big throw came with the very last throw of the competition and with victory assured but four of her six throws would have been good enough to beat Ukraine’s 2012 European champion Vira Rebryk, who was second with 63.42m.
Germany's London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Linda Stahl was third with 61.97m
“I am in very good condition. After my second attempt, I realized that I could throw very long. I was hoping for around 67 metres today but before my sixth attempt, when it was clear that I had won, I asked the audience to support me. They responded and gave me a big boost. It worked and the result was even better than I expected,” said Abakumova, who had a disappointing 2012 Olympic final after winning the silver in Beijing and could only finish 10th.
There was another Russian victory in the women’s Shot when Yevgeniya Kolodko won with 19.04m, winning by almost a metre.
Matters were a lot closer in an exciting men’s Discus throw, Germany’s Daniel Jasinski prevailed with a personal best of 64.69m, three centimetres ahead of Lithuania’s two-time Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna with The Netherlands’ Eric Cadee third with 64.38m.
Hungary’s 2012 Olympic Hammer champion Krisztian Pars dominated his specialist event when he won by more than a metre with 77.24m.
In the men’s under-23 Discus, Montenegro’s rapidly improving Daniel Furtula won with 62.10m but the performance of the day in this age group came in the women’s Shot Put when Turkey’s 17-year-old Emel Dereli won with 16.78m.
She opened with her winning throw, reached 16.71m with her second effort before reeling off four fouls as she tried to improve on her recent national junior record of 17.04m, achieved indoors last month.
With a February birthday, Dereli is still young enough to compete in this summer’s IAAF World Youth Championships in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, where a 3kg Shot will be used for the first time.
However, as a point of comparison, the World Youth Championships record with the 4kg implement is held by a certain Valerie Adams with 17.08m from 2001, and Dereli’s distance in Castellon would have won at every single previous Championships by a long way, apart from the year the redoubtable New Zealander triumphed.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF