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Types of Javelins

Updated April 17, 2017

Javelin is an Olympic field event. The javelin itself is a spear-like object, tipped at one end to increase aerodynamics and pierce the ground upon impact. Size and weights vary depending on age and gender. The majority of javelins have a metal tip, but a variety of materials are used to construct the shaft.

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Olympic Javelin Specifications

In rules set by the International Association of Athletics Federations, male athletes must use Javelins weighing 800 grams with a length measuring at least 260cm. Female competitors must use javelins weighing 600 grams and measuring at least 220cm in length.

Javelins for Younger Athletes

As children progress toward becoming senior athletes, different javelin weights are available to fit their level of development. At ages 11 and 12, boys and girls are both required to use a 400 gram javelin. At 13 and 14, boys and girls progress to a 600 gram javelin, competition weight for senior female athletes. At 15 and 16, males are required use a javelin weighing 700 grams.

Shaft Construction

The shaft of the javelin is of hollow construction to increase the surface area and promote the greatest flight time. The majority of competitive athletes use wooden javelins, more specifically, birch wood. Less commonly, javelins are found with a metal or carbon fibre shaft. These types of javelin can withstand more wear and tear, and are commonly found at training grounds.


Around the centre of the javelin is a wrapped binding to allow athletes to better grip the shaft. Usually this binding is made of tightly wrapped threads or leather, but training javelins occasionally have cloth or rubber bindings.

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About the Author

Joe Faulkner-Edwards has been a freelancer for the BBC since 2008. He writes and researches innovative new factual entertainment formats and output-related material for BBC Online. Faulkner-Edwards is also a health and fitness expert. His health and lifestyle articles have been featured in "The Leeds Student" newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in broadcasting from the University of Leeds.

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