Nafissatou Thiam in the heptathlon javelin at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (© Getty Images)
Nafissatou Thiam, carrying an elbow injury, knew that she may only be able to take one throw in the heptathlon javelin. She needed to make it a good one if she were to maintain her overall lead.
It was more than good.
Her 53.13m was a lifetime best and ensures she goes into the final event, the 800m, with a comfortable lead of 142 points over Jessica Ennis-Hill. In 800m terms, that translates to 9.10 seconds; the difference in their season’s bests is 5.82 seconds.
After taking that throw, Thiam sat down and held a cold bottle water to her aching elbow. But she wasn’t under any particular distress; she doesn’t need a healthy elbow for the 800m.
The javelin generally went to current form. Ennis-Hill threw 46.06m to maintain her position in second place overall, while Brianne Theisen-Eaton produced the second-best throw of her life with 47.36m, keeping her in contention for a medal.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson, meanwhile, was fairly close to her season’s best with 36.36m, but needed to be nearer her lifetime best of 42.01m to keep alive her chances of a top-three finish.
World bronze medallist Laura Ikauniece-Admidina was the top performer in the javelin. The Latvian threw a PB of 55.93m to move from 12th to fifth place overall.
Sofia Yfantidou and Nadine Broersen were the only other women to throw beyond 50 metres, producing marks of 54.57m and 50.80m respectively.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF