Spring Bank holiday weekend 2016 saw the 5th edition of the UK Javelin Carnival held at Loughborough University.
The previous event had been held in early September 2015 and had seen no fewer than 77 participants throw the Javelin over the course of the weekend. With the High Performance Centre as the backdrop at a University that boasts Alumni such as current UK Record Holders Steve Backley and Goldie Sayers and the promise of fantastic weather, the 5th UK Javelin Carnival promised the be a step up from the previous year. The weekend certainly didn’t disappoint. Over the course of the weekend 116 competitors threw the Javelin in various age groups ranging from U13 up to senior level. Many of those competing were current or past Loughborough Students. The weekend was also IPC accredited where ambulant throwers were included with their able bodied counterparts. No fewer than 45 personal bests and 14 seasons bests were set over the weekend, meaning over 50% of the athletes that competed achieved updated ranking performances. The inclusive nature of the event allowed entries on the day which therefore suited every demographic of participant whatever the standard.
Highlights of the weekend included Loughborough Alumna Goldie Sayers winning the Wilf Paish Memorial Shield Senior Women’s event with a throw close to 58m: a new carnival record. The Carnival also welcomed IPC F46 World Champion from 2015, Hollie Arnold to Loughborough. Hollie threw a season’s best of 40.07m as she pushes on towards the Paralympics later in 2016.
The weekend also witnessed the comeback of long-term injury absentee and current Loughborough Student, Kelly Bramhald. Having not thrown since the 3rd UK Javelin Carnival in 2012, Kelly returned to the run up to throw 44.27m and thus banish memories of an injury sustained whilst warm weather training in 2013.
The event also witnessed some excellent duels throughout and played host to many of the countries best young javelin talent. As ever there was much competitive grit and great camaraderie throughout.
As a template for the sport moving forward, these kinds of events in addition to the Javelin Camps and Workshops that have been run at the University since November 2014, are leading the way and are becoming more and more prevalent. Selling athletics is a challenge in the current climate, but the hook created by the feel good factor of such events should not be ignored. With the development of a culture in what is the UK’s most successful throwing event along with passionate and driven people, these events will continue to grow apace. All that is needed now is continued support from all interested and invested parties so that the base can be broadened and create a self perpetuating feel good factor.