Norwegian javelin star to defend title
By Yoon Chul
Over 1,950 athletes from 206 countries will compete in 47 events at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu. The javelin, hammer, discus throwers and shot putters are usually among the biggest competitors because they have to exert tremendous power.
Andreas Thorkildsen is a javelin great but his body shape is far from what you’d expect for his event.
The 29-year-old Norwegian weighs less than 90 kilograms. But he has the world at his feet in the javelin with a personal best of 91.59 meters.
Thorkildsen is the first male in the javelin to conquer the European championships, World Championships and Olympics.
The 1.88-meter-tall athlete, sometimes called the Norwegian David Beckham, took gold at the Summer Games in 2004 and 2008. He did exceptionally well in the latter, topping the podium thanks to a 90.57-meter Olympic record.
Thorkildsen is also the only one to exceed 90 meters this season.
He unleashed his event-winning throw of 90 meters at the Norwegian Championships in August and looks confident of defending his world championships title.
“It’s always good to get results. A tailwind is good when the spear is in the air, but it can be a bit difficult in terms of technical stuff in the run-up. There are still small technical things I can adjust up to the world champs, but it will come together,” Thorkildsen said to TV2 sport after winning the Norwegian Championships, Sunday.
“I actually enjoy having the pressure and expectation on me. I have my own expectations of what I can achieve, and I’ve handled it before.”
The Norwegian athlete, who first took up the sport at the age of 11, burst onto the javelin stage.
He set national records as a teenager for the 14-, 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds classes and finished seventh at the European Junior Championships in 1999.
In 2001 he first broke the 80-meter barrier, throwing 83.87 meters and it remains the current world junior record.
Thorkildsen finally broke 90 meters in May 2006, throwing for 90.13 meters at the Doha Super Grand Prix.
On June 2, 2006, Thorkildsen set for his all-time personal best on home soil in Oslo.
This season he has continued to impress. In six events, he has won the last four events by throwing over 88 meters.