A living legend of athletics, the Czech Republic’s Jan ZELEZNY will be gunning for a fourth world title at the Stade de France, having already been crowned champion in 1993 at Stuttgart, 1995 at Gothenburg and two years ago at Edmonton. In Paris, ZELEZNY will be setting out to prove to all his rivals that he remains as competitive as ever, even at 37 years of age.
Winner of two Golden League meetings this season, at Paris Saint-Denis and Zurich in mid-August, the triple Olympic Champion (1992, 1996 and 2000) is now free of injury worries after spending 2002 plagued by back problems.
However, the Czech’s long reign at the summit of world javelin throwing has not worn his rivals down. In particular, the world record holder (98.48m) is under serious threat from the Russian Sergey MAKAROV, who has topped the world list for the last two years and was European silver medallist at Munich. The likely successor to ZELEZNY, MAKAROV is still waiting to take centre stage and a first major title. But the Czech has still managed to gain the upper hand over his opponent at each of the recent Golden League showdowns, notably on 4 July at the Stade de France®. Could that be a sign?
However, ZELEZNY would be gravely mistaken to focus solely on MAKAROV because the threat to his title could come from other quarters. First up is Britain’s two-time world silver medallist Steve BACKLEY (1995 and 1997), who won his fourth consecutive European crown in Munich last summer, but has not been on top form this season with a best throw of 85.69m, way behind MAKAROV’s 90.11m.
And also in with a good shout of a place on the final podium are Germany’s Boris HENRY and Russia’s Alexandr IVANOV