WMA throws out javelin specs, records for W60, W65 and W70

Starting this year, women 60-74 will throw the 500-gram javelin instead of the 400-gram spear, thanks to approval of an Australian proposal at Porto Alegre worlds. USATF adopted the new specs at the Indy annual meeting, and Jerry Bookin-Weiner says he is writing about this and other implement changes for National Masters News. In response to a query, Jerry wrote me: “Men’s and women’s shots at the WMA level may (note MAY, not must) have up to the same diameter as the largest men’s or women’s open shot. The rationale for this change (which has been in the USATF rules for a long time) is that our hands do not get any smaller as we age. The W75+ .75kg discus may (note again MAY, not must) have the same specifications (except obviously weight) as the 1kg discus. Same rationale as above.” Rex Harvey tells me that Oceania President Wilma Perkins, wife of WMA President Stan Perkins, proposed the change from 400 to 500 grams for the javelin, which was summarized in the General Assembly booklet at worlds.

Change was voted 3 months ago, but WMA still shows old javelin specs.

Change was voted 3 months ago, but WMA still shows old javelin specs.

On the javelin change, Jerry adds: “The only rationale I can conceive of is that the javelin was the only women’s implement to reach its lightest weight before age 75 until this change and therefore it brings it into line with the others. All of these have been adopted by USATF and will be in the 2014 Rules of Competition when they are published, so officials should be aware of them.”

The listed WRs for W60, W65 and W70 are:

    • 41.28 (135-5) by Austrian Gertraud Schönauer
    • 38.07 (124-11) by Britain’s Evaun Williams
    • And 33.73 (110-8) by Evaun.

So apparently these records will be tossed at the end of the year.

Listed USATF records for W60, W65 and W70 are:

    • 39.16 (128-5) by California’s Linda Cohn
    • 31.48 (103-3) by Oregon’s Becky Sisley
    • And 28.42 (93-3) by Becky

Sorry, Linda, Becky, Gertraud and Evaun. But at least your 400g records are immortal.

Here’s what WMA delegates weighed (I don’t know the final votes, though):

[Proposal] from Australian Masters Athletics

9) W60-74 Javelin specification: That the technical specification for W60-74 Javelin event be increased from 400gm to 500gm.

Justification: Trials in Australian and discussion in other countries have indicated strong support for this adjustment as women in this age bracket still have the strength and flexibility to throw the heavier implement.

Proposal from USATF Masters T&F

Appendix A.2 shall be modified to show that all Men’s shot shall have the IAAF maximum diameter of 130mm.and that all Women’s shot shall have the IAAF maximum diameter of 110mm. Also Appendix A 4 shall be modified to show that the 0.75-kilo discus shall have a maximum diameter of 182mm.

Reason for change: Athletes lose strength as they age so the weight of the implements decreases for safety and performance reasons. But their hands do not get smaller. With the current rules, as the implements get progressive lighter, and smaller, the older athletes have to relearn the grip, throwing motion, and release of the smaller implements that are currently required by WMA rules.

Furthermore, because the diameter of the lighter shots are so much smaller than the hand sizes of adult athletes, it is virtually impossible for older men and women to have all of their fingers behind the shot, thus increasing the risk of sprained fingers. It would be safer and more athlete friendly to allow (not require) the standard IAAF maximum diameters that athletes are accustomed to.

The minimum size of the shots would stay the same so that it would still be possible to manufacture minimum cost solid cast metal shots. These larger sized implements are already available and the proposal would not invalidate any existing legal shot or discus implements but merely would allow more standard sized implements if desired.

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January 11, 2014

10 Responses

  1. Kathy Bergen - January 11, 2014

    I have been throwing the 400g javelin since I turned 60 – 14 years ago. Now at age 74 I am supposed to buy a 500g javelin for a year and learn how to throw it. Ridiculous!

    The women in the 60-74 age group impacted by this rule should be grandfathered or perhaps grandmothered to allow them to throw the 400g if they choose for competitions only not for records.

  2. Christel Donley - January 11, 2014

    Here is my recollection from Porto Alegre plus what I found out since…
    I attended the women’s meeting with Mary Trotto.
    At no time was there a discussion about an implement change: 500 g javelin for 60-74 women.There were NO votes in that matter either
    . We mainly listened to less fortunate countries (financially and participation wise) who were asking for opinions and maybe support for improving their situation.

    I did not go to the General Assembly – sick in our hotel – but was told that the proposal about the change was in the rule package of the WMA General Assembly – I did not read it. Mary Trotto took a poll at the meet, only to find out,that most of the women in the concerned age groups were NOT for an implement change. YET, the delegates voted for the change….
    go figure..??
    However, Mary’s statement is: we, in USATF , did not know – until the women’s meeting, that the change was already proposed, so we had no chance to conduct a poll.

    ( I was not even aware of the proposal at the women’s meeting, I WOULD HAVE SPOKEN UP!!)

    This does not change the ruling, but hopefully explains a bit what was/is going on.

    I tried my best English….

  3. Weia Reinboud - January 12, 2014

    500, that is very good news, the 400 is an awfull thing to throw. I had totally missed it as proposal and as decision…
    (Personally I would like the same weights for all ages. 600, 4K, 1K.)

  4. Dr. Mary Trotto - January 12, 2014

    I believe that the 400 g records are not just thrown out. They stay on the books and then new 500g records will be recorded. Sandy would best be able to tell what happens to the 400g records. Personally, I prefer throwing the 500g javelin and like anything that is new, this new implement will take time to adapt. 500g javelins are already used therefore, it should not be too difficult to get to practice with one. The local associations should have a 500g javelin in their equipment closet that they might be willing to loan someone who only have the 400g.

  5. Kathy Bergen - January 13, 2014

    Wilma Perkins is not the president and from my prospective has no business bringing something up. Who elected her? Since when is a proposal brought up and passed without discussion?

    Mary, as the Women’s rep did you vote for the proposal? I don’t care if you like the 500g. It is very difficult to start throwing one now without proper training. I am not looking to set any records. I just want to compete.

    I am not going to suck it up and throw the 500g. I don’t have a 500g and I am not going to buy one for a year. I also have to protect my shoulder and elbow since I have never thrown one.

    Mark Cleary is the head of our association and I strongly doubt he has 500g javs laying around so we can borrow one nor should he.

  6. Mark Cleary - January 13, 2014

    Kathy is right we don’t have any 500 gram jav’s

  7. A. Lorraine Tucker - January 14, 2014

    Comments from Kathy Bergen and Weia Reinboud shed good light on the heart of the matter.

    Respect the records previously set by those outstanding javelin throwers!!! Grandmother( father ) us all and let us have an equal opportunity to compete.

    Reasons for the previous changes were unreasonable. Secondly, the changes cause unnecessary expenses and limit competition opportunities. Thirdly, enforcement of implement specifications only occur at major competitions, and a select group of well managed meets.

    This is the second time I have been caught in WMA changes to the WMA javelin specifications. During 2002-03 ,(as I recall) the specifications were changed from 400 g to 500 g,and then back to 400 g.

    The changes appeared arbitrary and never ending, so I continued throwing the 600 g javelin, until the design changed and it was no longer certifiable ( or resalable)

    At one point I owned four( 4 ) javelins ( 600g, 500g,and two 400 g), none of these met standard or specifications for my age division at that time (55-59 ).

    Happy javelin throwing.

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