KATHRYN Mitchell feels she is close to throwing an Australian women’s javelin record – a feat she feels she can achieve on the European athletics circuit, if not in Melbourne this weekend.
The Ballarat athlete has been notching up impressive distances in training and has captured the fascination of Australian sports fans this summer in a thrilling rivalry with world championship silver medallist Kim Mickle, pushing each other further each time.
It makes for a massive showdown at Lakeside Stadium for the Australian Athletic Championships, which double as Commonwealth Games selection trials.
Mitchell, Mickle – who posted a new Australian record in Melbourne a fortnight ago – and Canberra young gun Kelsey-Lee Roberts have each thrown A-qualifying distances for the Glasgow Games.
This weekend is about sealing a spot and Athletics Australia is facing the rare prospect of filling its three-athlete quota for the event in Glasgow.
“There may be three Aussies competing in the women’s javelin and I’m not sure the last time that has happened,” Mitchell said. “It’s fantastic ... athletics is a pretty hard sport to get publicity for, especially in our event.
“We’ve got a lot of depth and everyone is going so well.”
Mitchell unleashed a personal best of 66.10 metres on her first attempt for the Adelaide Track Classic in mid-February.
Spurred on by the challenge, Mickle bettered Mitchell by two centimetres that night.
Mitchell finished runner-up to Mickle in the IAAF World Challenge Melbourne a fortnight ago, when Mickle threw a new Australian record of 66.83m.
“It’s been really good. Obviously you can never tell what work the competition has been doing ... we’ve all been working hard,” Mitchell said.
“I’ve still got a lot more distance to come.”
“I’m looking for a good throw on Saturday (in the final). My main aim is to seal off selection.”
Mitchell has been training in Melbourne the past month with coach Uwe Hohn and the Chinese national team athletes he coaches.
She is back at work in Ballarat this week to fine-tune her preparations for nationals then a move to the
European circuit in about two month’s time.
Australian Athletics Championships start on Thursday.
Mitchell must first contest a qualifying round on Friday at 9am, with a likely 15-athlete field whittled down to 12 for Saturday’s final.
Ballarat is set to boast a strong contingent of athletes set to line up in Melbourne in the four-day championships.