Japan's Kitaguchi grabs women's world javelin title with last throw

Haruka Kitaguchi screams in joy after winning the world championsips javelin gold medal with her final throw (Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)
Haruka Kitaguchi screams in joy after winning the world championsips javelin gold medal with her final throw (Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)

Haruka Kitaguchi of Japan won the women's javelin world title in dramatic fashion on Friday, producing the decisive effort with her final throw.

The 25-year-old sent the spear soaring out to 66.73m to dash the dreams of Flor Denis Ruiz Hurtado, the 32-year-old Colombian who had led from the first round with 65.47m and had looked on course for a shock victory.

Mackenzie Little of Australia also snuck into the medals with her final throw, taking bronze with 63.38m.

Kitaguchi, who may well get to defend her title in front of her home fans in Tokyo in two years' time, believes she might have given the javelin newfound popularity in Japan after winning her country's first gold medal of these championships.

"Javelin is not a very popular event in Japan but I think it's becoming more and more popular. Before, nobody knew about this event but now when I got gold, I think it will be more popular," she said.

Kitaguchi said her Czech coach David Sekerak was "more or less screaming at me" as he tried to motivate her from the stands in Budapest.

"But I think everything just came together in the last attempt and it was great," she said.

"At the beginning, I thought that I would be crying, but now, I just feel the happiness."

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