Goldie Misses Out On Medal Chance

PUBLISHED: 14:37 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:29 04 May 2010

Goldie Sayers in Beijing

Goldie Sayers in Beijing

THIRTY-eight centimetres - that was the short distance separating Ely's Goldie Sayers from Olympic medal glory in Beijing last week.

"I feel as sick as a dog," said the Great Britain javelin thrower immediately afterwards, and she vowed to make it third time lucky in the London Games four

THIRTY-eight centimetres – that was the short distance separating Ely’s Goldie Sayers from Olympic medal glory in Beijing last week.

“I feel as sick as a dog,” said the Great Britain javelin thrower immediately afterwards, and she vowed to make it third time lucky in the London Games four years from now.

“I think at the last Olympics I promised a medal at this Olympics,” said the Belgrave Harrier athlete, “so I definitely promise one in 2012 and I can’t wait for that.”

In the final of the Women’s Javelin competition Germany’s Christina Obergfoll – initially fourth to throw – was the first competitor to break the 60-metre mark, hitting 66.13 metres with her first attempt to take the lead.

She was immediately overhauled, however, by the Russian Maria Abakumova, who threw a colossal 69.32 metres.

Obergfoll’s compatriot Steffi Nerius took third spot with 64.05, and then it was the turn of Sayers to enter the First Round fray.

She certainly did not disappoint her fans. The javelin flew out 65.75 metres for a new British record which briefly put her in the bronze medal position behind Abakumova and Obergfoll.

Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic was next to throw, achieving a distance just 10 cm short of Abakumova but well ahead of the others, pushing Goldie down to fourth place.

World Record holder and reigning Olympic champion Osleidys Menendez from Cuba was the final competitor to throw in the First Round, but she could manage only 63.35 which left her in sixth spot. It proved to be her only completed throw of the final.

The Second and Third Rounds saw no changes in the pecking order, as all the leading throwers failed to match their First Round efforts although Abakumova again exceeded 69 metres with her second attempt.

In the Fourth Round however, the Russian extended her lead by becoming one of only a handful of women to break the 70-metre barrier with a throw of 70.78 – yet another National record.

Sayers was the only athlete in the top six to produce a legitimate throw in the Fifth Round, but it fell just 72 cm short of the National Record she had created earlier.

Then came the dramatic Sixth and final round in which the top eight competitors threw in reverse order of their standings, just as they had done in the previous two rounds.

Fifth-placed Nerius produced her best throw of 65.29, but she remained just behind Goldie in fifth spot. The former King’s School pupil then had her last chance to break into a medal position, but produced only 56.83 – her worst throw of the day.

“I just felt that they started the clock on my last round too early,” said Sayers after mis-timing her run-up.

“Steffi (Nerius)’s score hadn’t come up, so I wasn’t ready.

“But no excuses. My goal at the start of the final was to break the British record in the final and throw a PB [personal best] in the Olympic Final and I could not have left any more energy or any more mental strength on that track.

“So when I have time to reflect I think I will probably be quite pleased.”

Obergfoll was likewise unable to better her First Round effort, but had denied Sayers a bronze medal by virtue of her opening throw.

Spotakova was the penultimate thrower, and – perhaps like all great champions – she saved her best until last, winging the javelin 71.42 metres to put her in the gold medal position. It was a European Record for the event.

Abakumova was the final competitor in the arena, but having just lost the lead she required another National record – and possibly a new Olympic and World record at the same time – in order to regain the lead.

She managed only 67.52 metres, but even that throw would have been enough to earn her a silver medal on the day.

“I believe I can throw a lot further and I really believed I could throw at least 67 metres today. I’m just a little frustrated I didn’t get the chance to use my last throw.

“To be beaten by two people who have thrown 70 metres, I can’t do any more, but fourth place is a difficult place to finish.

“You could see it was going to be a big championship, and I think it was one of the greatest finals ever and I feel very proud to have been a part of it.”

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