Barbora Spotakova at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels (© Gladys von der Laage)
It has been 13 years, but the women’s javelin returns to Oslo’s Bislett Stadium for the 50th anniversary of the ExxonMobil Bislett Games, part of the IAAF Diamond League, on 11 June.
Javelin has almost folklore status in Norway which has long been regarded as a factory for javelin throwers. Men like Arne Halse, Olav Sunde, Egil Danielsen, Terje Pedersen and Andreas Thorkildsen quickly became household names in Norway.
This event, though, will evoke memories of Norway’s greatest female javelin thrower, Trine Hattestad.
She was a huge crowd favourite at the Bislett Games and had a record that was the envy of every thrower in the world: Olympic champion, twice world champion as well as European champion. Hattestad also improved the world record on two occasions.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the best possible field has been assembled. Heading the field is a woman with similar credentials to Hattestad: Barbora Spotakova.
The Czech thrower is the world record-holder and has won two Olympic titles as well as gold medals at both the World and European Championships.
Spotakova has also been the Diamond Race winner in her specialist event in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
She will be joined in the competition by two old rivals, both who have returned to competition after taking a year off for maternal duties. Both women are former world champions and both have personal best in excess of 70 metres.
Germany’s Christina Obergfoll is the world champion while Russia’s Maria Abakumova won that title in 2011.
Obergfoll broke through for her first major championship victory when she finally won in Moscow. The German had been a finalist at the IAAF World Championships on four occasions prior to Moscow, but without a victory.
Obergfoll also won the Diamond Race in 2011 and 2013, meaning that only her and Spotakova have ever lifted the women's javelin Diamond Trophy.
Abakumova has medals from three IAAF World Championships, winning in Daegu four years ago as well as gaining the bronze medal in both 2009 and 2013. Her personal best of 71.98m is the second-longest throw in the history of the sport.
With the recalibrated javelin, there have only been 11 throws recorded beyond 70 metres. Abakumova has achieved the feat on four occasions, Spotakova has managed it three times, while Obergfoll has two marks in advance of 70 metres.
This trio represent the best throwers of this era and they will all compete at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September