The long road back to the big time has begun for Mariya Abakumova – and her family are very much part of it.
While this summer saw new javelin mum Barbora Spotakova win gold at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, one of her rivals is plotting her own comeback after giving birth to twin girls in May.
Russian Abakumova, the 2011 world champion, has had her first training session as she prepares for 2015 which could see her return for the European Athletics Team Championships in Cheboksary in June and then the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August.
Abakumova, 28, who is married to Russian javelin thrower Dmitriy Tarabin, who won bronze at the world championships in Moscow last year and finished fifth in Zurich this summer, is making the most of embracing her new life.
Her first workout was in Crimea and she said: "I had basic training mainly on the sand while my husband recovered after the season.
"Sometimes I train with my daughters keeping them in the arms. They are putting on weight constantly and I increase my loadings in such a way."
It was a fascinating insight into her preparations in a sport where often women runners who have given birth train by pushing their child’s buggy during their daily sessions.
Abakumova’s next training camp will be in Kislovodsk, before Adler in November and December and both her husband and her also plan to train in Estonia under the direction of Heino Puuste, the 1982 silver medallist at the European Athletics Championships in Athens.
By the time of the main events of 2015, the conversation in the call room for the women’s javelin throwers might not just be about that day’s event.
Baby-talk will be very much in the air because along with Spotakova and Abakumova, Germany’s defending world champion Christina Obergfoll is also pregnant and could return to the fold next summer.
When Abakumova won the world title in Daegu in 2011, she did so with a throw of 71.99m, a national record, as Spotakova finished second with 71.58m and Obergfoll was fourth with 65.24m.
By the following summer, Spotakova successfully defended her Olympic title with 69.55m as Obergfoll was second with 65.16m and Abakumova was back in 10th with 59.34m.
And then it was Obergfoll’s turn to finally take a major gold when she triumphed in Moscow in 2013 with 69.05m as Abakumova won bronze with 65.09m.
Spotakova missed that event as her son Janek was born three months earlier but she returned in style this year and took the title at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August with a throw of 64.41m on an emotional night at the Letzigrund Stadium where she was pictured holding her child moments after her glory.