Kathryn Mitchell (Vic) looks set to compete in her third world championships team after producing a London 2017 qualifying throw of 63.23m at the Golden Grand Prix meet in the Japanese city of Kawasaki on Sunday.
The Rio Olympic finalist produced her best throw since August last year to place second behind Chinese athlete Shiying Liu.
Well over the 61.40m qualifying standard required, Mitchell is relieved with the performance but admits it is still below her best.
“I have a lot of work to do,” Mitchell said.
“It was great to get the qualification mark out of the way, but I'm actually not in that great shape at the moment.”
Mitchell has recently been preparing in China where training has been a “hard environment, both physically and mentally”.
“I think the level [of competition] is on the way up and 63 metres won't guarantee a good place in the top meetings. I would like to step up a level this year.”
If, as expected, she is selected for the team that will travel to London in August it would mean the 34-year-old would effectively become Australia’s eldest female field athlete to compete at a world championships.
Though it’s a statistic Mitchell isn’t likely to get caught up in.
“I am enjoying the best years of my career, albeit a decade late!” Mitchell said.
“I still believe in achieving big things so while I can… I hope I can inspire persistence for younger athletes who may think things will turn out just as they imagine.
“Age is just a number, is it not?”
Mitchell is likely to join fellow javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT) in London after she secured her spot on the team by taking out the Australian Athletics Championships earlier this year.
Set to travel to the United States for the Eugene Diamond League this coming weekend, Mitchell will then head to Germany to base herself in Jena, where Olympic gold medallist Thomas Rohler (GER) is based.
In the men’s javelin at Kawasaki, London-bound Tasmanian Hamish Peacock threw 80.13m to finish 5th in a competition that was taken out by Rohler with a 86.55m throw.
In other results from Japan, Brandon Starc (NSW) cleared 2.25m in the high jump for the first time since July last year to finish in 6th place. Although it wasn’t the 2.30m he requires for world championship team selection, the jump signalled a long-awaited return to competition for the 23-year-old who recently undertook ankle surgery.
On the track, Rio Olympic semi-finalist Jenny Blundell (NSW) missed out on a world championships qualifier by less than a second in the women’s 1500m, running third in 4:07.72, while Brittany McGowan (Qld) has returned to competition after a lengthy stint on the sidelines due to injury to record 4:12.28 and finish in 5th place.
Four-time national champion James Nipperess (NSW) recorded a season’s best of 8:40.29 in the 3000m steeplechase, not far outside the 8:32.00 qualifying standard he was chasing. Stewart McSweyn (Tas) finished just behind in 8th place with 8:44.66.
Elsewhere, James Gurr (NSW) ran 1:48.98 to place 5th in the men’s 800m, while Naa Anang (Qld) jumped 6.32m in her first overseas long jump competition this season.