Spotakova shines as athletics get back on track

NAMPA/AFP

Two-time Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova stole the show as athletics returned to business across the Czech Republic on Monday, following a drawn-out break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Athletes were banned from tracks, helplessly watching the Tokyo Olympics being postponed until next year and the European Championships cancelled. But the sport sprang back to life at 173 Czech venues this week as both professionals and children returned to competition under the Czech Athletic Federation’s ‘Back on Track’ project.

“I really like this idea and obviously it has made quite a splash,” the 38-year-old Spotakova, who holds the world record with 72.28m, told AFP.

‘Decent performance’

“I think we even showed a decent performance. The corona crisis didn’t derail us and in spite of everything, we’re pretty well prepared,” she added after winning the women’s javelin event in the city of Kladno northwest of Prague with 63.69m.

“I was really looking forward to competing because I’ve been training for a very long time and I know I can perform, but I wanted to test it,” said Spotakova, who won gold in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, as well as bronze in Rio in 2016.

Looking forward to the prospect of competing in Tokyo at the age of 39, she said: “I feel I’m in good shape. I only hope it will last.”