Claude Pearce Trophy for Javelin

Subscribed for by Associations, Clubs and Friends TO PERPETUATE THE MEMORY OF A GOOD FRIEND AND A GREAT SPORTSMAN

By Dr Jane Ainsworth

Story of the Event
Although the javelin was one of the disciplines in the pentathlon of ancient Greek athletics, on which the nineteenth century sport placed so much focus – see the inscriptions on the men’s 400m and 110 hurdles trophies – the event was not contested at the Amateur Athletic Association Championships until 1914.

Athletics trophy. Bronze sculpture of a man throwing a javelin.
Photo credit: Jane Ainsworth

By then it had appeared in three Olympic Games under Scandinavian domination; eight of the nine medals were claimed by those from north of the Baltic. When javelin did appear on the AAA programme, along with discus and triple jump, it was on probation, with the Championship Committee noting that it would only continue as long as it was on the Olympic programme.

Finish athlete Jorma Kinnunen, appears on this trophy as AAA Champion in 1966. He went on to win silver at the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968 before setting a world record distance of 92.70m in 1969. Hungarian athlete Miklós Németh won this title in 1980, four years after his Olympic success in Montreal 1976 with a first round throw of 94.58m to break the world record and take the gold medal. 

International success for British javelin throwers did not come until the 1980s. David Ottley, AAA champion six times, ensured that British javelin throwers returned home with a clean sweep of medals from Los Angeles in 1984, taking the silver medal while Tessa Sanderson and Fatima Whitbread claimed gold and bronze in the women’s competition.  By the 1990s javelin was one of Britain’s strongest events, claiming much attention both in the stadium and on television. Mick Hill, winner of this trophy on five occasions, won medals at World, European, and Commonwealth championships, before helping to coach Jessica Ennis. Steve Backley won medals in all major championships, including four successive European titles and medals in three successive Olympic Games between 1992 and 2000, as well as setting British and World records.

The Donor
The trophy, dedicated to Claude Pearce by his friends and fellow competitors is difficult to miss, with its striking figure of a javelin thrower in action. Unusually amongst the AAA trophies, it was bought by the association in his memory, emphasising the impact Pearce had made on the athletics community in the first half of the twentieth century.

Pearce was the President of Herne Hill Harriers on three occasions: 1909-1910, then again in the years after World War I, 1919-1920, when clubs would have formed a key role in integrating veterans back into life in peacetime London. His final stint was during the difficult war years of 1938-1946, when he also served as Honorary Treasurer of AAA until his death in 1947.

History of the Trophy
AAA champions in the javelin received this trophy from 1948 to 1995 for the event first contested in 1914.

Since 2010 the trophy has been presented to the winner of the England Senior Championships Javelin.  The trophy is the only one to depict the event for which it is awarded; history is silent on the furthest distance achieved with the detachable javelin the thrower holds.

Previous Winners*

 1967 J.B. Sanderson2010 B. Byrd
 1968 D. Travis2011 M. Luckwell
 1969 W. Nikiciuk2012
 1970 D. Travis2013 L. Doran
 1971 D. Travis2014 L. Doran
 1972 D. Travis2015 G. Millar
 1973 D. Travis2016 H. Hughes
 1974 D. Travis2017 J. Harris
 1975 H. Potgieter2018 J. Harris
 1976 P. Maync2019 G. Johnson Assoon
 1977 D. Ottley 
 1978 P. Yates 
1948 J. Stendzenicks1979 S. Osborne 
1949 A.F. Hignell1980 M. Nemeth 
1950 M. J. Denley1981 M. O’Rourke 
1951 A. Matteucci1982 D. Ottley 
1952 M.J. Denley1983 M. O’ Rourke 
1953 M.J. Denley1984 (D. Ottley)* 
1954 M. Morrell1985 (D. Ottley)* 
1955 D. Zamfir1986 (D. Ottley)* 
1956 P.S. Cullen1987 (M. Hill)* 
1957 P.S. Cullen1988 (D. Ottley)* 
1958 C.G. Smith1989 (S. Backley)* 
1959 P.S. Cullen1990 (M. Hill)* 
1960 Mohd Nawaz1991 (M. Hill)* 
1961 M. Macquet1992 (S. Backley)* 
1962 J.V. McSorley1993 (C. MacKenzie)* 
1963 C.G. Smith1994 (M. Hill)* 
1964 J.H.P. Fitzsimons1995 (M. Hill)* 
1965 D.H. Travis  
1966 J.V.P. Kinnunen  

*N.B. Names are as recorded on the trophy and are not always as recorded elsewhere, thus Stendzenicks for Stendzeniecks. The winners after 1984 are not recorded on the trophy and thus appear here in brackets with an asterisk.