In an otherwise quite predictable men’s javelin qualification, there was one major development: Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott failed to make the final with his 76.83m throw, enough for just 26th place overall.
Most of the other favourites made it to the final, with maybe two exceptions. The 2013 world bronze medallist Russian Dmitri Tarabin didn’t make it with 77.48m for 25th and China’s Zhao Qinggang was 17th with 79.37m, almost 10 metres shy of his Asian record. But Tarabin’s 2015 form did not match that from 2013 and Zhao had not competed for more than 10 months since his record throw at the Asian Games in Incheon in October 2014.
For Walcott, who has suffered from an ankle injury he sustained at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco in the middle of the July, it was not clear-cut. His first throw of about 82 metres was the narrowest of fouls.
After Monaco it was thought that the Trinidad and Tobago athlete’s season was over, but he returned surprisingly quickly to win the Pan American Games in Toronto just a week after his injury. The 22-year-old is second on the world list this season with his 90.16m best in Lausanne in July.
There were two surprise names at the top of the qualification. 23-year-old German Andreas Hofmann unleashed an 86.14m personal best with his first throw, adding one centimetre to his previous best from last year; quite an achievement for an athlete competing at his first global championships.
Japan’s Ryohei Arai, who took silver behind Zhao at the 2014 Asian Games, threw 84.66m with his last throw for the second-best performance of the competition.
The usual suspects took the next three places. World leader Julius Yego struggled a bit with his first throw of 80.79m, which would have been enough for the final. But the Kenyan threw his javelin at a better angle with his second throw, which landed at 84.46m, well beyond the automatic qualifying standard of 83.00m.
The 26-year-old threw an African record of 91.39m in Birmingham in June and he finished fourth at the last World Championships in Moscow two years ago, with Tarabin overtaking him in the last round.
Defending world champion Vítezslav Vesely was not troubled at all. The Czech qualified with the first throw of group B.
The silver medallist from Moscow in 2013, Tero Pitkamaki, needed two throws, but qualified comfortably with an 83.43m second-round effort.
Argentina’s Braian Toledo broke his own national record with 83.32m on his first throw. This will be the first major championships final at the senior level for Toledo, who set a world youth best of 89.34m in 2010 with the 700g. Thomas Rohler, who threw a personal best of 89.27m in August, qualified with his final throw of 83.23m. The 23-year-old German did not qualify for the final in Moscow two years ago.
European champion Antti Ruuskanen threw 82.20m with his second throw and the Finn qualified as the ninth man. Swede Kim Amb (81.63m), 10th in Moscow 2013, Estonian Risto Matas (81.56m), eighth in Moscow 2013, and 22-year-old German Johannes Vetter (80.86m), competing at his first major championships, complete the line-up for the final.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF