Kathryn Mitchell’s rise from javelin student to golden master

JOURNEY: Ballarat athletics coach Lindsay Burgoyne watched Kathryn Mitchell progress from a promising junior (inset right) to a Commonwealth champion on the Gold Coast on Wednesday night.
JOURNEY: Ballarat athletics coach Lindsay Burgoyne watched Kathryn Mitchell progress from a promising junior (inset right) to a Commonwealth champion on the Gold Coast on Wednesday night.

ATHLETICS coach Lindsay Burgoyne could hardly keep his emotions in check as he watched Kathryn Mitchell stake a Commonwealth Games javelin gold medal on Wednesday night.

Burgoyne was in the crowd at Carrara Stadium in what was the first time the long-time mentor had seen Mitchell throw on a major stage.

See Kathryn Mitchell’s golden moment in pictureshere.

He could tell from the warm-up throws Mitchell was firing – then she threw a Commonwealth and Australian record with 68.92 metres on her first attempt.

“I was pretty pumped at that first throw. The whole thing was pretty emotional,” Burgoyne said. “Even though I haven’t coached her in a long time, I have a long association with Kathryn...It was just fantastic to be there and then see her do as well as she did. 

Watching her in the warm-up throws, no-one was on the same level as her that night

Burgoyne first came across Mitchell at an athletics event 20 years ago in Canberra.

He said Mitchell was not having a great day, but had potential and he invited the Casterton-based junior to train in Ballarat.

An extremely driven Mitchell transferred to Ballarat High School two years later and soon started to get a taste of elite competition.

Burgoyne coached Mitchell’s early career before she took her game to a new level under German Uwe Hohn, the only man to have thrown a javelin more than 100 metres.

But Burgoyne says he has been a student of Mitchell for a while now.

“I watched her develop as a athlete, like any junior, learning to feel what it’s all about,” Burgoyne said. “I’m now learning a lot from Kathryn, and from Uwe, who both have a greater understanding for the event.”

City of Ballarat and Glenelg Shire mayors each congratulated Mitchell as a great role model for aspiring young athletes in each community.

“She has worked extremely hard to achieve her dream of a gold medal...We are very proud of Kathryn and I warmly congratulate her on her inspiring victory,” Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said.

While Glenelg Shire mayor Anita Rank said the former Casterton athlete, in her fourth Games, was a stellar example of what you could achieve with ongoing dedication and determination.

“What a fantastic moment seeing a former Casterton resident taking home gold on the world stage and breaking multiple records in the process,” Cr Rank said. 

Mitchell’s long-time Australian javelin teammate and former national record holder Kim Mickle was quick to tweet on the Gold Coast.