Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen - 91.59m - in Oslo 2006 (© Getty Images)
Oslo’s Bislett Stadium has always had a great relationship with the Javelin and this year’s ExxonMobil Bislett Games will focus on the men’s event as part of its IAAF Diamond League programme on 13 June.
Meeting Director Steinar Hoen has assembled a field containing many of the world’s best competitors, not least Norway’s local hero and two-time Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen.
The news from Oslo is very positive concerning the charismatic Thorkildsen.
After two seasons of battling various injuries, Thorkildsen has finally declared himself fully fit and feels ready to try to regain his World title in Moscow later this year.
Reports from his warm weather training camp and a steady performance in his first competition of the year, at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha last Friday, indicate that he should be a huge threat again this season and, naturally, he will be especially determined to make an emphatic statement on his home soil.
Thorkildsen has competed 12 times in the Bislett Games since he made his debut when he was just 18 in 2000, missing only the 2011 event through injury, and it was at the 2006 Bislett Games that Thorkildsen set his still-standing Norwegian national record of 91.59m.
Another athlete returning from injury and who will be looking to prove himself is the 2011 IAAF World Championships gold medallist Matthias de Zordo.
The left-handed German had serious problems last year but had his first competition in Doha since crashing out of qualifying rounds at the London 2012 Olympic Games and showed that he is returning to form with fourth place.
De Zordo was the dominant thrower in the world in the latter part of 2011 and has a best of 88.36m from that year’s Diamond League final in Brussels.
Finland’s former World champion Tero Pitkämäki started 2013 in great style with a throw of 86.40m at his South African warm weather training base and will be return to the stadium where he is a firm favourite of the crowd, having won at the Bislett Games on a number of occasions.
Last year’s winner of the ExxonMobil Bislett Games, Vítezslav Vesely, had the biggest throw in the world in 2012 with an effort of 88.34m and, after the Czech thrower’s definitive victory in Doha last Friday, he will be looking to approach the performance of his coach Jan Zelezny in the Bislett Stadium. In 1992, Zelezny threw a distance of 94.40m which was a World Record at the time.
Thorkildsen, De Zordo and Vesely are also the winners of the Diamond Race in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
The competitor attracting a lot of interest is a young athlete with the shortest personal best of all the competitors: Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott.
Walcott threw his personal best of 84.58m at just the right moment, in the Olympic Games final last summer to win the gold medal in London, having been crowned World junior champion earlier in the season.
The fans in the Norwegian capital have for decades really appreciated the Javelin and all the skills involved. Historic names like Danielsen, Pedersen, Hattestad, Zelesny and many others are truly revered names in the Bislett Stadium because of their exploits in the arena.
Organisers for the IAAF
2013 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 10 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
New York, USA – 25 May
Eugene, USA – 1 Jun
Rome, ITA – 6 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 13 Jun
Birmingham, GBR – 30 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 4 Jul
Paris, FRA – 6 Jul
Monaco, MON – 19 Jul
London, GBR – 26-27 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 22 Aug
Zürich, SUI – 29 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 6 Sep