Olympic champion Spotakova shines as athletics get 'Back on Track'

Athletics sprang back to life at 173 venues in Czech Republic on Monday as professionals and kids returned to the track under the 'Back on Track' project.

Barbora Spotakova

Barbora Spotakova won the women's javelin with a throw of 63.69 metres in her first competition since the coronavirus pandemic. She holds the javelin world record with 72.28 metres.   -  Reuters

Two-time Olympic javelin 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.

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But the sport sprang back to life at 173 Czech venues on Monday as both professionals and kids 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 javelin world record with 72.28 metres, told AFP.

“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 women's javelin in the city of Kladno northwest of Prague with 63.69 metres.

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“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 javelin golds at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and a 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 a good shape. I only hope it will last, a year perhaps?”

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