Spotakova is still striking gold at the age of 36

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  • Spotakova is still striking gold at the age of 36

It is nine years next month since that Saturday afternoon in Stuttgart where Barbora Spotakova smashed the javelin world record. And now, when 13 September comes around again, she will mark the anniversary as still being the best there is.

As she said: “I cannot imagine my life without athletics.”

Now 36, age seems to be an irrelevance; Spotakova is world champion once more, an amazing 10 years on from first winning the title for the first time in Osaka. A decade ago, she triumphed with what was a Czech record of 67.07m, now it was gold with 66.76m after her superb performance in London just over a week.

Spotakova could be on the path to another gold medal in Berlin next summer when the European Athletics Championships take place as part of the first multi-sport European Championships in conjunction with the Scottish city of Glasgow.

Spotakova now has five major titles to her name, with her two Olympics triumphs in 2008 and 2012, world championships gold medals in 2007 and 2017 and her European title from Zurich in 2014, when tears flowed as she cuddled her son Janek in her first major competition since he was born.

And it is to the Letzigrund Stadium she will head on Thursday again, looking for more glory at the IAAF Diamond League, as the event leader in the javelin’s Diamond Race.

Since winning at the Universiade in Izmir, in 2005, Spotakova has shown not much does go wrong when it comes to the heat of the big final.

In London, she regained the world title with victory from the second round and with it came such an outpouring of feeling, a real insight to what makes Spotakova tick. “The possibility of competing at this stadium once more motivated me to continue my career after the Rio Olympics. Winning this, I got the best feeling in my life.

“I thought I will never have stronger emotions than I did in Beijing, but they definitely were much stronger. The strongest emotions ever, even though my career is very long and very successful.”

She also revealed how she still gets through the process of performing at the very highest level. Talking of being “in this form at this age”, Spotakova told a Czech newspaper: “I really felt quite broken after qualifying. It is more and more difficult to recover from the competition. There are 300 things to do. You have to be cool. Of course, you also do not underestimate anything or anyone .”

But she sensed it could be her time again, having celebrated such glory at the Olympics in London in 2012.

She revealed her feelings on the day of the final and said: “From the moment I got to the stadium, it was so strangely calm that everything would go well that would be good. It was just a very strange feeling.

“I had this feeling in the past only in two stadiums – in Stuttgart, where I have always succeeded, and then in London. Such a special inner peace. I do not know why. It turned out that it was a good choice to stay in athletics even after Rio. It was worth it.”

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