Olympic Women’s Javelin — Liu’s In First

Gold medalist Shiying Liu became the first Chinese woman ever to make the Olympic javelin podium. (JEAN-PIERRE DURAND/PHOTO RUN)

AFTER HER MASSIVE 234-3 (71.30) in May made her the No. 3 performer all-time, Maria Andrejczyk (4th in Rio, but a non-qualifier in Doha) became the logical gold-medal favorite. However, the Pole’s subsequent best mark was more than 7m (c25ft) shorter, which opened the door to other potential winners.

Chief among them: the consistent ’18 European champion, German Christin Hussong; China’s Huihui Lu, a 3-time WC medalist, and Shiying Liu, Doha runner-up; Doha victor Kelsey-Lee Barber and her Australian teammate, Kathryn Mitchell; and the new American Record holder, Maggie Malone.

In qualifying, the 25-year-old Andrejczyk returned to form with a one-and-done 214-0 (65.24). Lu (also known as Lyu, not to be confused with Liu) needed all three tries to avoid elimination, and the U.S.’s Kara Winger exited her fourth and final Olympics with a 195-10 (59.71).

The second group produced only one auto-qualifier, Malone’s first throw of 206-11 (63.07). Barber recorded her season’s best, while Liu, Mitchell and Hussong made it through with marks barely over 200ft. The WR holder, 40-year-old Czech Barbora Špotáková, in her fifth Games, did not qualify.

Athletes in the final had to suffer through repeated interruptions by track events, including the men’s 5000 and the women’s 400 and 1500.

The contest for the gold was settled quickly. Throwing last in the first round, Liu, her active shoulder taped and utilizing an unusual throwing-arm-down approach, produced a 217-8 (66.34) seasonal best that would remain 1.7m (c6ft) better than anyone else’s best mark. She would have only one other legal throw, along with two fouls and two passes.

Liu became the first Chinese woman to earn a podium spot in the javelin. “I didn’t think I was going to win a medal. I had an injury,” she said. “The most difficult thing was to have a breakthrough on my mind, although I improved my technique. I was really calm. Today I am very satisfied with my performance.”

Andrejczyk, 3rd after round 1, moved up to 2nd with a 211-11 (64.61) in the next sequence, but there she stayed. She had 5 throws over 61m. On her final attempt, with a chance to add to Poland’s haul of throwing golds, her plant foot appeared to slip and she had to settle for silver. It was her country’s first women’s javelin medal since ’36.

“These 5 years since Rio were very difficult, because I had four operations, one on my shoulder, one on my ankle,” said the runner-up. “After my 71m throw, I got an injury in my shoulder again. It was a battle with time to get to the Olympics. I’m happy with the silver, but it’s not enough for me. I want more.”

Barber, who seems to thrive in the meets that matter most, recorded another season’s best in round 2 to move to 3rd. She improved it twice more, finishing with a 211-10 (64.56) and the bronze. “I was super focused and super determined,” she said. “I knew I had something a little bit further, and I was able to show that in the sixth round.”

China’s Lu, briefly 2nd in round 2, then fourth with a 2m margin on the rest, was overtaken by surprising Eda Tuğsuz, who launched a 210-0 (64.00) effort to earn the highest placing (by far) by a Turkish woman in an Olympic field event.

At the other end of the ranking were two notables: Hussong, who appeared flat and could not reach 60m (196-10), and Malone, right shoulder taped, more than 3m (10ft) below her qualifying mark, which would have garnered her 5th.

“It’s really disappointing. It’s not how I thought it was going to be,” she admitted after her shortest mark of the year, 196-3 (59.82) for 10th. “I really did think I could be on the podium. I came in, I was ready to throw far, I just got tense.”


WOMEN’S JAVELIN RESULTS

(August 06) (temperature 84–82F/29–28C; humidity 78–79%)

1. Shiying Liu (Chn) 217-8 (66.34)

(217-8, f, 208-0, f, p, p) (66.34, f, 63.40, f, p, p);

2. Maria Andrejczyk (Pol) 211-11 (64.61)

(205-3, 211-11, 200-2, 208-9, 211-5, 194-7) (62.56, 64.61, 61.03, 63.62, 64.45, 59.31);

3. Kelsey-Lee Barber (Aus) 211-10 (64.56)

(203-4, 208-11, 207-10, 210-1, 193-1, 211-10) (61.98, 63.69, 63.34, 64.04, 58.85, 64.56);

4. Eda Tuğsuz (Tur) 210-0 (64.00) (f, f, 203-10, 203-11, 207-10, 210-0) (f, f, 62.13, 62.17, 63.35, 64.00);

5. Huihui Lu (Chn) 208-0 (63.41)

(206-1, 207-0, 208-0, 202-11, 195-4, 195-0) (62.83, 63.11, 63.41, 61.85, 59.54, 59.44);

6. Kathryn Mitchell (Aus) 202-10 (61.82)

(202-10, 202-3, 197-1, f, f, f) (61.82, 61.66, 60.08, f, f, f);

7. Liveta Jasiūnaitė (Lit) 197-0 (60.06)

(197-0, 192-5, 193-10, 182-6, 191-7, f) (60.06, 58.66, 59.09, 55.64, 58.39, f);

8. Mackenzie Little (Aus) 196-9 (59.96)

(196-9, 189-7, 182-0, 179-8, 180-3, 178-10) (59.96, 57.80, 55.47, 54.76, 54.94, 54.51);

9. Christin Hussong (Ger) 196-8 (59.94)

(196-8, 194-2, 195-7) (59.94, 59.18, 59.61);

10. Maggie Malone (US) 196-3 (59.82)

(176-9, 196-3, 193-2) (53.88, 59.82, 58.88);

11. Madara Palameika (Lat) 192-7 (58.70)

(f, 178-2, 192-7) (f, 54.30, 58.70);

12. Haruka Kitaguchi (Jpn) 181-10 (55.42)

(175-4, f, 181-10) (53.45, f, 55.42).

first 3 rounds
* = progression of the leading throw; ¶ = athlete’s best of the day
Lu 62.83* 63.11 63.41¶
Hussong 59.94¶ 59.18 59.61
Tuğsuz f f 62.13
Little 59.96¶ 57.80 55.47
Andrejczyk 62.56 64.61¶ 61.03
Mitchell 61.82¶ 61.66 60.08
Kitaguchi 53.45 f 55.42¶
Malone 53.88 59.82¶ 58.88
Barber 61.98 63.69 63.34
Jasiūnaitė 60.06¶ 58.66 59.09
Palameika f 54.30 58.70¶
Liu 66.34*¶ f 63.40
rounds 4–5
Little 54.76 54.94
Jasiūnaitė 55.64 58.39
Mitchell f f
Tuğsuz 62.17 63.35
Lu 61.85 59.54
Barber 64.04 58.85
Andrejczyk 63.62 64.45
Liu f p
final round
Little 54.51
Jasiūnaitė f
Mitchell f
Tuğsuz 64.00¶
Lu 59.44
Barber 64.56¶
Andrejczyk 59.31
Liu p

QUALIFYING (August 03; auto-qualifier 206-8/63.00)

Qualifiers: Andrejczyk 214-0 (65.24), Malone 206-11 (63.07), Barber 205-4 (62.59), Little 204-7 (62.37) PR, Tuğsuz 204-5 (62.31), Kitaguchi 203-7 (62.06), Lu 203-4 (61.99), Jasiūnaitė 203-3 (61.96), Liu 203-3 (61.95), Mitchell 202-11 (61.85), Hussong 202-4 (61.68), Palameika 199-11 (60.94);

Non-qualifiers: Tatsiana Khaladovich (Blr) 199-5 (60.78), Barbora Špotáková (CzR) 198-7 (60.52), Jucilene de Lima (Bra) 197-4 (60.14), Nikola Ogrodníková (CzR) 196-11 (60.03), Kara Winger (US) 195-10 (59.71), Laila Ferrer e Silva (Bra) 195-1 (59.47), Irena Gillarová (CzR) 194-1 (59.16), Marija Vučenović (Ser) 193-4 (58.93), Anete Kociņa (Lat) 193-0 (58.84), Victoria Hudson (Aut) 192-3 (58.60), Liz Gleadle (Can) 190-11 (58.19), Jo-Ané Van Dyk (SA) 189-3 (57.69), Réka Szilágyi (Hun) 188-3 (57.39), Līna Mūze (Lat) 188-1 (57.33), Ariana Ince (US) 180-4 (54.98), Maria Lucelly Murillo (Col) 180-4 (54.98), Annu Rani (Ind) 177-3 (54.04);… 3f—Sara Kolak (Cro). ◻︎

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