BALLARAT javelin thrower Kathryn Mitchell has launched herself into an Olympic final in Rio.
Mitchell threw 61.63 metres in her final attempt in the B qualifying group on Wednesday morning, Ballarat time, to stake her place in Friday’s showdown.
The Eureka athlete is set for her second consecutive Olympic javelin final – an Australian achievement matched only by Louise McPaul (Barcelona 1992 and silver in Atlanta 1996).
Mitchell finished ninth in the London final four years ago, in her Olympic debut.
This time, Mitchell snuck into the final as 12th-ranked qualifier and fifth in her qualifying pool. Mitchell had a no-throw in her first attempt and threw 60.05m in her second attempt.
“Qualification is never easy. It’s so stressful, there’s so much pressure to get it on three throws,” Mitchell told the Seven Network.
“It was not my intention to throw like that and I’m considering myself very lucky to grab that 12th spot.
“I’m in good shape and have been throwing well all year. I needed to be in the final and I’m there, so a new competition starts on Thursday (Rio time).”
Hailing from Casterton, Mitchell graduated from Ballarat High School where she was under coaching tutelage of Lindsay Burgoyne, who harnessed her strong spring and jump into javelin as her discipline.
Mitchell has reinvented her game under legendary German power thrower Uwe Hohn – the only man to throw a javelin more than 100 metres.
She arrived in Rio in stellar form with runner-up placings in Diamond League meets in Monaco, Birmingham and Doha this season. Mitchell also won the IAAF World Challenge javelin event in Melbourne earlier this year.
Fellow Australian javelin thrower Kim Mickle has suffered agony on the world's biggest stage - popping her recently reconstructed shoulder out of place during the first round in Rio.
The world championship silver medallist was escorted to hospital by the team doctor with a likely dislocated shoulder.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.