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Introduction to Javelin Throwing



Javelin throwing requires speed and rhythm on the approach, as well as strength. According to IAAF rules, the javelin must be held at the grip and thrown over the shoulder or upper part of the throwing arm. The rules specifically ban “non-orthodox styles” of throwing.

What to look for:

The javelin consists of three main parts, a metal head with a sharp point at the tip, a shaft and a cord grip. The weight and aerodynamics of the men’s javelin was changed in 1984 to reduce throwing distance. The women’s javelin underwent similar changes in 1999. The current men’s javelin weighs 800 grams while the women’s weighs 600 grams. There are generally six throws in championship competitions. The longest single throw wins.

Men’s world record:

Czechoslovakia’s Jan Zelezny established the world record five times between 1987 and 1996. He lost and re-gained the mark twice before setting the current record of 98.48 meters on May 25, 1996, in Jena, Germany. A strong challenge from Germany’s Raymond Hecht, who scored a 90.06-meter throw early in the meet, may have helped push Zelezny to better his former record of 95.66 by almost three meters with his third throw of the day.

Women’s world record:

Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic broke the 3-year-old record of Cuba's Osleidys Menendez at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, Germany on Sept. 13, 2008. On her first attempt, Spotakova launched the javelin 72.28 meters (237 feet, 1 inch).

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