Anderson Peters in the javelin at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)
The World Athletics Championships Oregon22 has now had two back-to-back javelin winners.
Twenty-four hours after Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Barber successfully defended her title, Grenada’s Anderson Peters won his second successive world gold medal in the event.
He did so with one of the greatest ever javelin series, producing three throws beyond the 90-metre line to hold off the challenge from Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra of India and Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic.
Vadlejch, second in the throwing order, took an early lead with 85.52m but Peters soon made his intentions known by opening with 90.21m. Germany’s Julian Weber also got off to a strong start with 86.86m – a mark which remained his best of the night.
Peters and Vadlejch improved in round two, throwing 90.46m and 87.23m respectively. Chopra then found his groove in round three, landing a throw of 86.37m to move into fourth place. It spurred Vadlejch into producing his best mark of the night, 88.09m, just minutes later.
Chopra surpassed the Czech thrower in the next round, though, sending his javelin out to 88.13m to move into second place. But there was no catching Peters.
Vadlejch and Chopra were unable to get close to the Grenadian’s leading mark in the last two rounds. By the time Peters took to the runway for the last time, he knew the title was his.
He didn’t ease off, though. His javelin set sail in Eugene’s evening sky and once again landed beyond the 90-metre line. The distance was confirmed at 90.54m – his best of the night.
Before this year, Peters’ best stood at 87.31m, set when winning the 2019 Pan American Games title. He has now surpassed that mark 16 times, seven of which have been beyond 90 metres.
Weber remained in fourth place, while Arshad Nadeem placed fifth with 86.16m, becoming the first athlete from Pakistan to achieve a top-eight finish at the World Championships. Finland’s Lassi Etelatalo was sixth (82.70m). Moldova’s Andrian Mardare and Finland’s Oliver Helander also threw beyond 82 metres in seventh and eighth respectively.
Only one man, world record-holder Jan Zelezny, had previously won back-to-back world titles in the javelin. And while Peters was happy to join the legendary Czech thrower in that exclusive club, he had been hoping to throw a bit farther.
“Defending a title is not an easy task; I had to push myself,” said the 24-year-old. “I was pretty happy that I managed to do it, although I was hoping for longer throws today. I just wanted to go out there and enjoy the event and to put on a show. This is my second gold, so I am very grateful for that.
“Most throwers prefer the wind from behind but today we had a head wind, so it was a bit challenging but I pulled it off,” he added. “It was not really important to beat anyone in particular but it was good to go out there and have fun.”
Chopra was relieved to emerge with a medal after feeling a niggle in warm-up.
“I have to congratulate Peters and Jakub,” said the Indian superstar. “I didn’t feel good during my first three throws. My warm-up was not good; I felt something in my groin during my throw but I think it is OK. Throwing in this wind was also a learning experience. But we have the World Championships again next year, so I will try to do better in Budapest.”
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics
|MEN'S JAVELIN MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||Anderson Peters 🇬🇩 GRN||90.46m|
|🥈||Neeraj Chopra 🇮🇳 IND||88.13m|
|🥉||Jakub Vadlejch 🇨🇿 CZE||88.09m|