Eureka! Mitchell’s Commonwealth gold shows dreams can come true

Finally, the rest of the Commonwealth has learned what Eureka junior athletes already know – Ballarat javelin thrower Kathryn Mitchell is a role model with an incredible story in discipline and persistence.

Now the Eureka athlete has a golden chapter.

The 35-year-old threw an Australian record of 68.92 metres to stake a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast last night.

Mitchell made her Games debut in Melbourne 2006 and the journey to her fourth Commonwealth Games has been all about continuously reinventing her game, physically and mentally.

INSPIRED: Eureka athletes Will Barber, Hein Reimert, Gracie-Lee Egner, Ben Ludbrook and Ben Mornane have been cheering Kathryn Mitchell from her training ground here, at Llanberris Reserve, to the Gold Coast. Picture: Kate Healy

INSPIRED: Eureka athletes Will Barber, Hein Reimert, Gracie-Lee Egner, Ben Ludbrook and Ben Mornane have been cheering Kathryn Mitchell from her training ground here, at Llanberris Reserve, to the Gold Coast. Picture: Kate Healy

Then Mitchell deliberately released the brakes in a superb season, breaking the Australian record twice on her road to the Games.

“I’m trying to let it happen rather than chasing it,” Mitchell said after last month’s state titles.

The Commonwealth title assured, an emotional Mitchell made her final attempt, a foul, before celebrating at Carrara Stadium.

Mitchell, who hails from Casterton, captured the attention of long-time Ballarat athletics coach Lindsay Burgoyne with her strong sprint and jump work as a teenager. She was a prime candidate for javelin, a sport relying on flexibility, mobility and timing for base power – enough to convince her to Ballarat.

This was her beginning.

Athletics has taken Mitchell across the world, but Ballarat is where she has made her home. 

Young Eureka athletes say they never take for granted watching the Olympian training at Llanberris Reserve. Mitchell stays low-key but intensely disciplined presence challenges them to work harder, like their stablemate.

Eureka’s Will Barber said there has been a real buzz about the club with Mitchell in stellar form leading into the Commonwealth Games.

“Kathryn’s an inspiration to watch in her elite training for us developing athletes,” Will said. “I like to tell athletes sometimes, make sure you pay attention – there’s an Olympian training over there.

"Kathryn’s been an upstanding athlete for Eureka Athletics Club and Ballarat Regional Athletics Centre a long time now and we couldn’t be more proud of her representing Australia and chasing her dream.”

Will said you need not be a larger-than-life athlete or big name like Usain Bolt to be a hero. Mitchell’s hard work and persistence made her a great role model.

Mitchell said she still believed in achieving big things and improving as the oldest competitor in last year’s world track and field championships. Her aim was to inspire persistence for younger athletes. Mitchell will return to Ballarat as a golden example.

INSPIRED: Eureka athletes Will Barber, Hein Reimert, Gracie-Lee Egner, Ben Ludbrook and Ben Mornane have cheered Kathryn Mitchell to the Gold Coast. Picture: Kate Healy

INSPIRED: Eureka athletes Will Barber, Hein Reimert, Gracie-Lee Egner, Ben Ludbrook and Ben Mornane have cheered Kathryn Mitchell to the Gold Coast. Picture: Kate Healy