Maria Abakumova in the womens Javelin Throw at the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013 (© Getty Images)
Russia’s defending women’s Javelin champion Maria Abakumova showed that she will not be giving up her title without a fight and has arrived at these IAAF World Championships in terrific form as she threw 69.09m with her first throw in Friday morning’s qualifying rounds.
It was the longest distance in a qualifying round at any championships in history with the current women’s Javelin specification.
In contrast to a number of other field event qualifiers that have been held in the morning, where there have only been a few athletes reaching the automatic qualification standard, the javelin throwers seemed raring to go.
No less than 11 throwers went over the automatic qualifying standard of 61.50m.
Australia’s Kimberley Mickle was the next best behind Abakumova when she added more than a metre to her best, set in Paris at the IAAF Diamond League there last month, with her second round effort of 65.73m.
Four other women made it a short morning’s work, reaching the qualifying standard with their first throw, including the German pair of Linda Stahl and Christina Obergfoll, who went through to Sunday’s final easily with 64.51m and 62.36m.
Another to get qualification quickly resolved was South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen, the bronze medallist at the last championships in Daegu two years, who was the fourth woman to throw over 64 metres on Friday morning when she launched her first throw out to 64.51m as well.
Although they are not expected to be medal contenders, Serbia’s Tatjana Jelaca and Sweden’s current World and European junior champion Sofi Flinck have already made their mark on the competition by setting national records of 62.68m and 61.96m respectively.
The 12th and last place went to Nadeeka Babaranada with 60.39m, just 25cm away from her recent national record, who became not only the first Sri Lankan woman to make the final of a World Championships field event but was actually the first woman from her nation to compete in a World Championships field event when she took part in the qualifying competition.
A number of names stand out from the 15 women who didn’t progress on a morning when conditions were obviously conducive to good throwing.
The biggest casualty was Germany’s Katherina Molitor, fifth at the last World Championships and sixth at the 2012 Olympic Games, who could throw no farther than 60.32m.
Japan’s Yuki Ebihara, Ukraine’s Marharyta Dorozon, Slovenia’s Martina Ratej and Latvia’s Madara Palameika have all thrown over 62 metres this season and would have come to Russia hoping to make the final but found 60 metres beyond them on Friday.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF