Tag Archives: Javelin

Track Beauty of the Week: Vira Rebryk Віра Вікторівна Ребрик

Vira Rebryk is this week’s Track Beauty!

The 23-year old Ukrainian is the reigning World Junior record holder for the javelin throw. She set the U20 standard of 63.01m at the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz back in 2008.[1] Naturally, her track record as an age-group athlete was immaculate, having won World Youth and World Junior silvers and the European Junior title on top of her World Junior gold medal.

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Track Beauty of the Week: Goldie Sayers

Goldie Sayers is this week’s Track Beauty!

Amidst the pouring British rain, Goldie stamped her class on a loaded javelin field a month before the London Olympic Games. Sayers threw a new personal best of 66.17m in Crystal Palace to snatch the win at that particular leg of the Diamond League. But her emphatic victory came at a huge cost, as Goldie injured her right arm in the process.

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Track Beauty of the Week: Ásdís Hjálmsdóttir

Ásdís Hjálmsdóttir is this week’s Track Beauty!

Hjálmsdóttir is Iceland’s best female javelin thrower. The 26-year old has a personal best of 62.77m from the qualifying rounds at the London Olympic Games. Thanks to Ásdís’ classy throw, she barged into the final of the highly comeptitive event. She eventually finished in a respectable 11th place, notching a best throw of 59.08m in the final.

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Tiina Lillak: Finnish Javelin Legend

When I was watching the javelin qualification rounds of the Helsinki European Championships, I noticed a prominent banner. Written in bold letters were the words: “Finland the Javelin Country.” Indeed, the javelin throw is a national past time in the Nordic countries. Of the sixty-nine medals awarded in the event since 1896, a staggering thirty-two medals had been won by troika of Sweden, Norway, and Finland. In fact, Finland had swept the medals twice in Olympic history.

The Euro Sport announcers then went on to talk about a certain Tiina Lillak, and how she snatched the inaugural World Championships gold on her final throw – in front of thousands of ecstatic Finns.

Tiina Lillak circa 1983. (Photo from Jos Hendrix)

Britain’s Fatima Whitbread threw down the gauntlet at the first round, throwing the spear to a distance of 69.14s. Lillak was in second place, with distances of 67.34m and 67.46m achieved in the first and fifth rounds. As the legendary Finn prepared for her final throw, the camera focused on Lillak. She was the portrait of sheer determination. Just from her expression, it was apparent that Lillak was summoning something grandiose.

And it was an epic throw, indeed. The moment the Finn released the javelin, the crowd let out a collective roar. When it struck the ground, beyond the Briton’s erstwhile leading mark and beyond seventy-meters (70.82m), the tens of thousands in attendance cheered even louder.

Coming from a country where athletics is nothing more than a fringe sport, the thought of a jam-packed stadium and a dramatically triumphant hometown bet gave me goosebumps.

The Euro Championships Men’s Javelin final will be held tonight. The resurgent 2007 World Champion Tero Pitkämäki and the exuberant Ari Mannio lead the Finnish charge. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed as I cheer for hometown duo, hoping to witness an epic in the making.



Track Beauty of the Week: Leryn Franco

Leryn Franco is this week’s track beauty!

Franco shot to worldwide fame at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she became an internet sensation. With her good looks, she stood out amongst the field of competitors. But then again, to say that Leryn is good-looking is an understatement.


Photos from Leryn Franco’s Facebook fan page and Oscar Munoz Badilla

The approachable Leryn is no stranger to this blog, having been one of the first elite athletes to answer the 10-for-10 quiz, despite her busy schedule.

Read: “10-for-10: Leryn Franco talks about London 2012, competing and Yoann Gourcoff!”

Some people might dismiss Franco as nothing more than a pretty face. However, competing in two Olympic Games and the World Championships  are achievements in themselves. Among all the athletes in the world, not many could say that they had competed on the world’s biggest stage!

Although Leryn’s best finish in a major international event is 24th place back in the 2003 Paris World Championships, the Paraguayan javelin thrower is a force to be reckoned with in South American athletics. As a junior, she set national U-17 records in both the javelin throw and the triple jump – a testament to her versatile athleticism! In 2001 and 2004, she won Junior and U-23 continental titles in the javelin, respectively.


Photos from Tetsumo and Leryn Franco’s Facebook fan page

Her detractors might have dismissed Franco as a has-been after her dismal 45.34m throw in Beijing (she placed 51st). But the competitive Paraguayan crawled back from the slump of 2008, setting a new national record of 55.66m, en route to winning the silver medal at the recently-concluded 2011 South American Championships – while having a vibrant career as a fashion model.

Indeed, Leryn Franco is more than just a pretty face. She is a certified track (or in this case, field) beauty!

Track Beauty of the Week: Barbora Špotáková

Barbora Špotáková is this week’s track beauty!

The 29-year old Špotáková is the world record holder for the javelin throw, following in the footsteps of her coach and compatriot, the great Jan Železný.

Špotáková en route to the Olympic Gold (Photo from tn.nova.cz)

The Czech started out as a world class heptathlete, finishing in the top eight of the 2000 World Junior Championships. She took her tertiary studies at the University of Minnesota, where Špotáková became an All-American. She shifted events and focused on the javelin.


Photos from sport.idnes.cz

After finishing twenty-eighth at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Špotáková made waves when she won silver at the 2006 European Championships in Goteborg. The 25-year old threw the javelin to a distance of 65.64m. It’s important to note that the Czech improved her personal best by a massive five meters from 2004 to 2005.

Since then, her climb to the top of the javelin elite became a straightforward march. She was crowned World Champion in 2007 (67.02m). Špotáková reached the pinnacle of the athletics world when she won the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal, throwing a new European  record of 71.42m in the final. Next year, she rewrote the world mark with her 72.28m heave.

The Philippine Asiad Athletics Campaign

The Philippine Amateur Track & Field Association (PATAFA), one of the country’s best-performing NSA’s sent a crack team of Southeast Asian Games champions in the likes of hammer thrower Arniel Ferrera, steeplechaser Rene Herrera and distance runner Eduardo Buenavista. Henry Dagmil, a near 8.00-meter long jumper, and javelin throwers Danilo Fresnido and Rosie Villarito, also competed.

The Rundown

The Philippines sent its best athletes, led by 2010 Asian long jump champion Marestella Torres, to the Guangzhou Asiad, only to come home empty-handed. The Philippine athletics medal drought continues, with the country’s best hope, Torres, losing the bronze medal on count back.

  • Marestella Torres (4th, Women’s long jump)
  • Henry Dagmil (6th, Men’s long jump)
  • Rosie Villarito (9th, Women’s javelin throw)
  • Arniel Ferrera (9th, Men’s hammer throw)
  • Danilo Fresnido (10th, Men’s javelin throw)
  • Rene Herrera (13th, Men’s 3,000m steeplechase)
  • Eduardo Buenavista (17th, Men’s marathon)

Read “Torres Lands 4th at the Asian Games”

Read Pinoymiler’s Asiad Day 2 round-up

Photo from Daylife and Zimbio

Aside from Torres, the closest to the medal standings was Dagmil at 6th place with his 7.45m leap. The Men’s long jump was won by South Korea’s Kim Deok-hyeon’s (김덕현). The Olympic and World Championships veteran was far from his lifetime best of 7.99m and his season’s best of 7.77m.

Read Pinoymiler’s Asiad Day 3 round-up

Read “South Korea’s Twin Long Jump Golds”

Photo from Zimbio and Getty Images

SEA Games hammer throw record-holder Arniel Ferrera placed 9th (58.06m). Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov topped the field with his 76.44m heave. Likewise, Herrera finished 13th in the 3,000m steeplechase despite stopping the clock at season’s best of 9:02.93. The event was won by Tareq Mubarak Taher (8:25.89), a Kenyan-born Bahraini.

Read Pinoymiler’s Asiad Day 1 round-up

Photos from Daylife and Getty Images

The ageless Danilo Fresnido threw the javelin to 70.35m, good enough for 10th. Japan’s 2009 World Championship bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami 村上 幸史 dominated the competition with his 83.15m mark. On the distaff side, Rosie Villarito (48.87m) finished second to the last at the women’s javelin throw competition. Japan scored a golden double in the javelin with Ebihira Yuki’s winning heave of 61.56 m.

Read GMA7’s article on Asiad penultimate day

Read Pinoymiler’s article on the Asiad Javelin Throw and Marathon

Read Pinoymiler’s Asiad Day 4 round-up

Buenavista, the country’s long-time distance running ace, ran a puzzling if not utterly shocking race in the Men’s marathon (2:45.07), a far cry from his national record of 2:18.44. According to a report by the Manila Standard, Buenavista will be facing a PATAFA inquiry on his Asiad performance. (As an athlete myself – and a huge admirer of Vertek – I do not want to judge. Let us hear it from the man himself. For all we know, he could have been nursing an injury. Let us keep in mind that Vertek has competed with distinction for Flag and Country in countless other meets).


SEA Games success does not automatically translate into Asian Games success. Save for Torres and Dagmil, the level of competition in the Asiad was simply too much for our best track & field athletes. The government and the private sector did not spend millions on our track & field athletes, unlike the Smart Gilas Basketball team which finished 6th overall Filipino track athletes, like most Filipino athletes not playing in the PBA or not named Manny Pacquiao, are marginalized. Our lone IAAF-accredited stadium is currently under renovation with much controversy. Even if Torres and Dagmil had training and competition stints abroad, our domestic jumping facilities pale in comparison with our Asian neighbors.

The rest of the Asiad athletics campaigners aren’t as well-supported like Torres and Dagmil.

Indeed, you reap what you sow.

With their circumstances in mind, I cannot in all honesty lay the blame on our athletes alone. In fact, I’m welling up with much admiration for those eight brave souls – to go against Asia’s best for one’s motherland is an honor accorded to so few!

But then again, the words of POC’s Romasanta (a former Gintong Alay official) sounds promising. He emphasized focus on medal rich sports like gymnastics, swimming and athletics. I am not lambasting the well-meaning support of Smart for the country’s national basketball program since like most Filipinos, I’m a basketball fanatic as well. I’m just hoping that some kind corporate entity back an honest-to-goodness athletics program, similar to golf’ and shooting’s respective grassroots development schemes.

I’m a firm believer that a million pesos spent in the course of an athlete’s years-long preparation is money well-spent than a million peso reward given after winning a SEA Games, Asian Games or Olympic Gold.


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10-for-10: Leryn Franco talks about London 2012, competing and Yoann Gourcoff!

Leryn Franco answers the 10-for-10 quiz!

The two-time Olympian, professional model and beauty queen takes time off her busy schedule to answer the 10-for-10 feature!

1. How did you get started with track?

I’ve always loved sports, so I started at school with my friends!!just for fun!!

2. What’s the most memorable moment of your track career?

This sport had given me so many memorable moments. When I set the record of Paraguay, the Olympic Games, even when I get hurt, you always remember the good and bad things… it’s the life we choose and I love it!!

3. What’s your life-long dream?

Now, LONDON!!! of course! but as a person and as a woman, I’m like everybody else, I want a happy family, I think right now I can not complain of what I have, I’m just living the moment, that’s a good advice!! =)

Be a fan of Leryn Franco

4. Let’s lighten up a bit! What would you rather wear and why? Short shorts or tights?

Difficult question for a woman!! what was you thinking about?? Hahaha it depends!!

hurdler49: I was thinking more from a performance perspective!

5. If you could be a Glee cast member, who will you be? And what song will you sing?

Hmmm.. Sorry Joboy, I don’t [watch]  Glee!! =(

6. How I Met Your Mother or F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?

Hmmm difficult one!!! Hey you watch too much TV!!! Hahaha

7. What’s the best pump-up song of all-time?

You are killing me Joboy!!!

8. If you could spend the rest of your days at any place in the world, which would you choose?


9. Name three things you just can’t live without.

REALLY??? HAHAH things, no persons!!!

  • My cellphone
  • My car
  • Internet

10. Fill in the blanks: I’ll run an ultra marathon just to go out with _________.

Yoann Gourcoff!! hahahaha =)

Now I’m smitten since she said my name quite a few times! Yoann Gourcoff, you’re one lucky guy.

Thank you for answering, Leryn!

Article by Joboy Quintos

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Pitkamaki spears Sdiri, then wins World Gold.

Reading of an upcoming showdown between Andreas Thorkildsen and Tero Pitkamaki reminded me of Pitkamaki’s no non-sense training clip.

Take note of Pitkamaki’s badass throwing style, where he puts his entire body behind each heave of the javelin. The way Pitkamaki dives to the track after each throw makes him more exciting to watch than his more illustrious nemesis – who had won back-to-back Olympic titles and a World Championships gold against Pitkamaki’s lone World title.

But what makes Pitkamaki truly admirable is his ability to hurdle adversity – or in this case, to spear adversity right at the ribcage! A month before topping the Osaka World Championships, Pitkamaki accidentally threw an errant javelin into the long jump area, impaling the French long jumper Salim Sdiri.

Fortunately, Sdiri escaped with nothing more than a flesh wound, missing a vital organ by a few centimeters.

To be able to win gold at the world stage after an obviously fearsome accident would have reduced most mortals to pulp.  Amazing. Amazingly badass!

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