To throw the javelin as far as possible, many athletes complete a run-up phase before withdrawing the javelin behind their body to complete crossovers. The final step to the javelin throw is to plant your foot opposite your throwing arm. This, in turn, causes the built up forces to transfer through your arm as you whip the javelin over your shoulder and into the field. With this throw, there are several ways you can foul.
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Although you can perform variations during your run-up and crossovers, three aspects of the throw must remain uniform among all competitors. You must hold the grip on the javelin, release it using an over-the-shoulder technique, and you may not turn your back to the field until the javelin leaves your hand. Throwing in another manner results in a foul. This rule ensures safety because the javelin remains under control when throwing it over your shoulder.
During the Throw
After beginning your throw, you may not touch any boundary line of the runway. Touching outside the lines results in a foul. If the javelin drops during the course of your throw, it is a foul; however, the tail of the javelin may hit the ground during the throw with no penalty.
Your javelin must land tip first. A throw landing flat or tail first is a foul and is not measured. When you throw the javelin with proper technique, it should land tip first because of the position of the center of gravity and the javelin design. This ensures that you throw the javelin with technique, rather than hurling it. The javelin must also land within the two sectors in the field set at an angle of 28.95 degrees to the runway. When the javelin lands outside the sector, your throw is foul.
Following the Throw
After completing your throw, no part of your body can touch over the foul line arc. A white line or piece of wood at the end of the runway designates the foul line. Once the javelin lands within the sectors, you may walk off the runway behind the arc line. When any part of your body goes over the line, whether during the follow through of your throw or accidentally walking out the front of the runway, a foul will result. This is to ensure that you are under control when leaving the runway following your throw.