Liz Gleadle takes third at World Continental Cup in Marrakech

Liz Gleadle by Claus Andersen It took her three rounds to come to life, but when she did Barbora Spotakova showed her class to take the expected eight points for Europe in an event that’s only twice been won by non-Europeans.

After missing 2013 to have her first child, the world record-holder completed her near-perfect comeback season to become the first Czech to win the women’s javelin at the World or Continental Cup.

She produced her best effort of 65.52m, an African all-comers’ record, in round three to relegate South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen to second place, just where she finished four years ago.

Spotakova had trailed the four-time African champion by almost a metre at half way, 62.17m to Viljoen’s 63.16m, and when the South African improved to 63.76m, she responded with her best throw of the contest.

The two-time Olympic champion has won seven contests this year, including the European Championships in Zurich last month, and was beaten just once, by Canadian record-holder Liz Gleadle at the Birmingham IAAF Diamond League meeting in August.

That performance secured Gleadle’s place on the Americas team for Marrakech and the 25-year-old did her continent proud this evening, picking up six points in third place with a best of 61.38m.

In 2010, it was Australian Kim Mickle who finished third for the Asia-Pacific team, but this time the Commonwealth Games champion and Moscow world silver medallist had to settle for fourth with a throw of 61.33m, while Germany’s European bronze medallist Linda Stahl, the world No.2 this year, was fifth, well short of her best with 60.14m.

Matthew Brown for the IAAF