In over 30 years of IAAF World Championships, the United States has only placed two women in the javelin final. Sunday night, that same amount will compete at National Stadium in Beijing, after Brittany Borman and Kara Winger advanced from Friday’s qualifying round.
The two-time U.S. champion Borman featured the longest throw of the first round of qualifying at 64.22 meters. The 26-year-old, who competed in the London Olympics and Moscow World Championships, posted a 58.24, fouled her second and scored on her third, which was a half meter off her personal best.
“I’m really excited, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Borman, who was a four-time NCAA champion at Oklahoma in the javelin and discus. “That’s our goal, to come out here and make the final.”
For Winger, the six-time U.S. champion, it is the first time she has qualified after two previous World Championships and two Olympics. Her second throw of 62.21 made her the 12th and final woman to advance.
“I felt good today,” Winger said, “but I let the nerves get a little bit the best of me. I didn’t get a big Q (qualification), but a Q is a Q is a Q! I thought about that (only two U.S. women have ever made the final) a lot watching the World Championships go on all week. The were two (U.S.) women in the shot put, two in the discus final, two in the hammer final, and now two in the javelin final, so I’m really pumped about that, and it motivated me today.”
Prior to this Worlds, the only two American women to qualify were Karin Smith, who was 10th at Helsinki in 1983, and Rachel Yurkovich, who was 12th at Berlin in 2009. Germany’s 21-year-old Christin Hussong had the longest throw of qualifying at 65.92 meters, which occurred on her final attempt. Had she not delivered, she would not have advanced on her previous-best of 61.00.
Defending gold medalist Christina Obergfoll of Germany, who turned 34 last week, fouled her first two attempts, then saved herself with a 64.10 on her third and final, the fifth longest of qualifying. Obergfoll also won silvers in the event in 2005 and 2007, along with Olympic silver in London and bronze at Beijing.
Barbora Spotakova, the world record holder from the Czech Republic (72.28) moved on after her second throw of 65.02 meters. Spotokova is the two-time defending Olympic champion, reigning European champion and 2007 world champion. She won silver in 2009 and 2011, and this season, she threw 65.66, good for sixth in the world.
Sunette Viljoen of South Africa caught the automatic standard (63.50) on her first attempt at 63.93. At 31, she owns the longest throw in 2015 at 66.62, is the two-time reigning Commonwealth Games champion, and won the bronze medal at this event in 2011. At Moscow in 2013, she placed sixth.
Elizabeth Gleadle of Canada tossed 64.02 on her first to advance. Li Lingwei of China, who was eighth in 2013, had the second-longest throw of the first round and is through, along with Kathrina Molitor of Germany, Lyu Hiuhiu of China, Sinta Ozolina of Latvia, and Linda Stahl of Germany, who is the defending Olympic bronze medalist but placed fourth at the Moscow Worlds.