Javelin  rivalry  heats  up between Mitchell and Mickle in Glasgow Games

AUSTRALIAN javelin’s friendly, but fierce, rivalry featuring Ballarat’s Kathryn Mitchell takes the stage at Hampden Park early Thursday morning.

Kathryn Mitchell

Kathryn Mitchell

All through the Australian summer it was Mitchell and world championship silver medallist Kim Mickle locked in battle, with West Australian Mickle always finding an edge.

When Mitchell launched a booming 66.10-metre personal best in the Adelaide Grand Prix, Mickle beat her by two centimetres in the same event.

When Mickle threw an Australian record 66.83 metres in Melbourne in March, it was Mitchell who had pushed her all meet.

Now Commonwealth Games medals are on the line.

Mitchell and Mickle are both tipped to throw their way onto the podium. Their biggest threat looms as South African Sunette Viljoen, whose best is 64.77 metres.

In-form Canberra youngster Kelsey-Lee Roberts is also in the mix, with Australia making the rare move to sport three women’s javelin competitors in a major meet.

Mitchell, 32, was fifth in the Delhi Commonwealth Games (2010) but has since revamped her technique under legendary coach Uwe Hohn.

She finished 12th in the London Olympics and was fifth in last year’s world championship final in Moscow.

Mitchell grew up in Casterton but moved to Ballarat to finish her schooling and develop her athletics.

Ballarat has been Mitchell’s home base since her return from world championships last year.

Fellow Eureka athlete Victoria Mitchell will also make her first appearance in the Glasgow Games early Thursday morning.

Mitchell will contest the women’s 3000-metres steeplechase in her first Commonwealth Games since Melbourne 2006, where she finished fourth.

The Sydney-based Mitchell moved between southern New South Wales and Ballarat during the early years of her international career.

Meanwhile, Victoria Bowling Club’s Tim Slater made his Games debut on the greens in the open para-triples.

Australia lost its opening round match against New Zealand, 11-8, and was set to meet South Africa on Tuesday night.

Badminton player Jeff Tho was to launch his singles and mixed doubles campaign, partnering Jacqueline Guan, on Tuesday night after reaching the quarter-finals in the mixed teams event earlier in the tournament.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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