Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Holly Robinson wins javelin gold with stunning final throw

Holly Robinson stood at the top of her run-up with one last chance to apply a golden finish to a gloomy night.

The 26-year-old had been struggling to find top form in the F46 javelin final but, sitting in the bronze-medal position, sent her decisive sixth throw soaring high and far through the rain-soaked Tokyo sky.

When the javelin landed, it did so beyond the 40-metre mark, the first of the 55 throws in the final to fly beyond that line.

And once Robinson’s two medal rivals failed to surpass her last-gasp effort, the Kiwi could begin to celebrate.

Robinson leaped from a bittersweet bronze to a stunning gold in a matter of seconds at the Olympic Stadium, affixing a sparkling new highlight to a career that had previously been defined by silver.

That was the medal she won five years ago at the Rio Paralympics, the same colour she wore on the podium at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and the position she finished at the world championships in 2013 and 2017.

On all four of those occasions, Robinson could look to her left on the dais and see Hollie Arnold claiming gold, which is what the Briton seemed set to do once again tonight.

Arnold led the final from her first effort of 39.05m and increased that advantage with a fourth throw of 39.73m.

Robinson had recorded a best effort of 38.75m and although she knew she was capable of much more – boasting the world record (45.73m) and the season-best distance (44.26m) – the conditions on a sodden evening were conspiring against her.

Until that clutch final throw. It was immediately clear she had surpassed Arnold, and with a distance of 40.99m, she jumped to the top of the leaderboard. All that was left was for Robinson to hold her breath.

The next athlete, Noelle Roorda of the Netherlands, delivered a brief scare with her last effort, a personal best of 40.06m that sent her into the silver-medal position.

But Arnold, perhaps shocked by the sudden reversal of fortunes, saved by far her worst for last and the defending champion was forced to settle for bronze.

Robinson, born with congenital limb reduction, raced into the stands to share the moment and a few tears with long-time coach Raylene Bates.

She then returned to the track draped in the New Zealand flag, the exasperation that had been clear to see during the competition now replaced by elation.

It was the Kiwi team’s sixth gold medal of the Tokyo Games and second of the day – all won by women. New Zealand sit 19th on the medal table with three more athletes set to compete tomorrow.

Robinson, raised in Hokitika and now living in Dunedin, will be one satisfied spectator.

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