Kathryn Mitchell is aiming high at this year’s Commonwealth Games after setting a new Australian benchmark for women’s javelin.
The Ballarat local produced a brilliant throw of 67.58m to eclipse the previous national record of 66.83m, which was held by Kim Mickle.
Mitchell’s performance was at an Athletics Victoria meet in Ringwood on Sunday and comes less than two months before the Games on the Gold Coast.
The 35-year-old told The Courier that she fouled her first throw of the meet before launching the record-breaking effort.
“The first throw was probably just as far, if not further, but I just came with my toe on the line,” she said.
“I had a little bit more speed than what I’d been used to, so I just moved the run-up back and the second throw was pretty similar. I thought it was maybe 65m, but it was a nice surprise when they read out 67-and-a-half.”
Mitchell said holding the national record feels “a bit surreal”.
“This is one I’ve been chasing for a long, long, long time. I’ve been close and there’s been injuries and ups and downs, but I’ve just persisted with it and I’ve always believed that I can be at that level,” she said.
While she is yet to be formally selected in the Australian team, Mitchell believes she has what it takes to win gold in April.
“I definitely think I can achieve it and obviously it’s what I want to do, but it’s also what every other girl in the field will want to be doing,” Mitchell said.
“I definitely think I can achieve it and obviously it’s what I want to do..."Commonwealth Games gold medal hopeful Kathryn Mitchell
“Obviously I’m throwing well, the training that I’ve been doing is in the right direction and the work I’ve been doing on the processes has been good.
“To be honest, I want to go there, concentrate on what I’m doing on the runway and the result will be the result.”
A former specialist student at Ballarat High School, Mitchell will get a feel for the new Games stadium this weekend.
She will compete in the 2018 Australian Athletics Championships and Nomination Trials at the venue.
If successful in gaining a spot in the national team, it will be Mitchell’s fourth Games.
She competed at Melbourne in 2006 (sixth overall), Delhi in 2010 (fifth overall) and Glasgow in 2014 (fourth overall).
“It’s super exciting that it’s a home Games,” she said.
“My first Commonwealth Games was in Melbourne and this will be my last Commonwealth Games that I do and it’ll be also in Australia. I think that’s kind of nice.”
Last year, Mitchell claimed her fourth Ballarat Sportswoman of the Year award.
It followed a 2016 campaign that was highlighted by a throw of 64.36m that helped her finish sixth in the final of the women’s javelin at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
That was Mitchell’s second appearance at an Olympic Games after competing in London during 2012.