The javelin throw has not been part of the Zagreb Meeting program since the Hanžeković Memorial returned to the Mladost Stadium and joined the group of the world’s strongest meetings in 1999. That event has an additional disadvantage – the meeting record of 85.05 from 1991 was set by Radoman Šćekić with the old javelin, which hasn’t been used at official competitions since 1986. However, after 3 September 2013, the box with the javelin throw meeting record holder will probably read: Andreas Thorkildsen!
The famous Norwegian javelin thrower is maybe the greatest name in that event after Jan Železny. Although born on 1 April 1982, his career has been anything but a joke. He was Olympic Champion in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, World Champion in Berlin in 2009 and European Champion in Gothenburg in 2006 and Barcelona in 2010. He also has three world silver medals in his collection: from 2005, 2007 and 2011. His personal best he threw in 2006 is the impressive 91.59 metres.
He is the first javelin thrower in history who has won all three important gold medals: Olympic, world and European. Not even Železny managed that.
Thorkildsen reminds of the Nordic god Thor even by his last name, and many (women) will say that he looks like that, as well. Together with Blanka Vlašić as co-captains, he led Team Europe to overall victory at the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup in Split. When asked by journalists how he motivated the team, Thorkildsen recapped his „motivational speech“:
„I told them: ‘Nobody counts with us here. This is why we are going to win and show everybody that we are no underdogs!’ And it worked.“
To make the list of the Zagreb meeting record holders, he will compete against sensational Kenyan javelin thrower Julius Yego, who lost the bronze medal in the last throw in Moscow, previously setting a new Kenyan record of 85.40.
The start list will also include Kim Amb (SWE), Thomas Röhler (GER), Valeriy Iordan (RUS) and Ari Mannio (FIN).
The javelin throw is returning to Zagreb big time!