Even though the javelin boasted the strongest field of any discipline at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix, few could have predicted the drama that would ensue in that event at the IAAF Diamond League meeting on Sunday (7).
Kenya’s Julius Yego took an early lead with 85.95m in the first round but Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott moved into pole position with a national record of 86.43m in round three.
But Walcott’s lead lasted just a matter of minutes as Yego threw 10 centimetres further with the next throw of the competition.
World champion Vitezslav Vesely just made it past the halfway cut of the competition, throwing 79.55m in round three after two fouls to sit in eighth place. The world champion remained in that position until his last throw of the day when he unleashed a season’s best of 88.18m to move straight into first place.
Everyone else was unable to respond to the Czech athlete with their final throws until Yego stepped on to the runway.
He sent his javelin high into the air and it landed well beyond Vesely’s mark but was initially ruled to have fallen outside the sector.
It was up for debate, though, as the sector lines hadn’t been extended beyond 87 metres.
The throw was measured anyway – 91.39m for the record – but after close examination the judges said it was still outside the sector.
Twenty minutes after the meeting ended, with the stands now completely empty, the officials reversed their decision and awarded Yego the victory with his 91.39m throw.
Confirmed as the winning mark, Yego’s performance is not only an African record and IAAF Diamond League record, but it was also the best throw in the world since 2006.