Rebryk snatches javelin gold from Obergföll's grasp
|Vera Rebryk of Ukraine won the javelin gold with a
national record throw of 66.86m on Friday.
Until that point on an evening of steady sunlight but fluctuating winds, it had seemed that the 30-year-old German was finally about to win a title to add to her silvers from the last European Athletics Championships and the World Championships in 2005 and 2007, and the bronze she gained at the 2008 Olympics.
But Obergföll had to settle for silver with a best effort of 65.12m ahead of the fellow German who beat her to the gold in Barcelona two years ago, Linda Stahl, who reached 63.29m. For Britain's Goldie Sayers, fourth behind Obergföll in Beijing four years ago, it was an evening of frustration as she missed the medal podium by one place again having briefly held the bronze medal position with her second round effort of 63.01m.
“All in all I’m satisfied with today’s competition,” Obergföll said. “I had a good series this year. Of course it would have been nice to win the gold medal that is still missing, but then I felt a bit nervous at the end. However, the world keeps turning.”
Obergföll had taken control of the competition with her opening effort, underlining that dominance with a fourth round throw of 64.55m, which was at that point the second best throw of the evening.
But then the 22-year-old Ukraine athlete who had served notice of her potential earlier this month in throwing a national record of 66.24m sent the spear on its way with an almighty yell to turn the competition around.
How would Obergföll, whose 67.04m earlier this month put her third in the world lists this season, respond to being put under pressure for the first time in the final?
Puffing out her ruddy cheeks beneath her bleach-blonde hair, the German misfired to around 56 metres and stepped deliberately over the line to prevent the distance being measured.
Rebryk underlined her dominance with a final effort of 64.77m. Just to ramp up the pressure, Obergföll then had to wait for a men's 200m semi-final to start and finish before being able to launch the last throw of the competition which landed at 63.17m. Her face taut with disappointment, the German turned resignedly away before acknowledging the support of the crowd with an overhead clap.
The Ukrainian, meanwhile, responded to her victory with a dazzling smile. A world junior record in winning the World Junior title in 2008 and a silver in the following year's European under 23 championships made it clear that she was a huge emerging talent. But her senior career she failed to qualify at the last Europeans and at last year's world championships in Daegu had not taken off until this season.
Before the competition had got underway, Stahl had identified her compatriot as the favourite for gold but Rebryk, who had been the best qualifier with a single effort of 61.84m, had other ideas.
Sayers, who threw 64.73m in Rome at the end of May to take third place in the Diamond League event, had briefly thought her third effort would be enough for her to regain the bronze medal position which at that point was held by Rebryk's 63.44m - waving her arms in uncertain triumph before putting her head in her hands when the digital display registered just 62.19m. The Briton's effort was clearly not enough, and she slapped her hand on her thigh in frustration before stepping resignedly over the line to annul the measurement. Fourth again.
There was disappointment too for the home crowd as their thrower Sanni Utrianen, the current world junior champion and daughter of the former Finnish javelin champion Esa, failed to make the cut, eventually finishing in 11th place with a best effort of 55.14m.
"I gained a lot of valuable experience," she said. "These were my first senior championships and I think my thoughts will be a lot clearer in a few hours after the competition when I have gone through my throws with my coach. If I have to say something positive, I am glad I wasn't last in the competition."
Katharina Molitor's second round effort of 60.99m meant there were three German throwers in the top five. Behind her, Sinta Ozolina-Kovale of Latvia achieved 59.34m, with Tatjana Jelaca of Serbia taking seventh place with a season's best of 57.58m.