17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Five
17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Five

Australia’s plan to make Tokyo their field of dreams

Australia will launch a multi-pronged medal blitz on the field events at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

New world javelin champion Kelsey-Lee Barber will lead the charge with a handful of proven elite performers in various field events set to return after missing the Doha world championships through injury.

Kathryn Mitchell heads this list given she defeated Barber in last year's Commonwealth Games final and holds the Australian javelin record.

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Former world discus champion Dani Stevens, who also won the silver medal at the 2017 world championships, is always a medal threat.

Pole vaulters Kurtis Marschall and Nina Kennedy were two of the event's most exciting prospects before injury struck this year.

And in the long jump Naa Anang has shown she's a potential major championships finalist to support Brooke Stratton who finished 10th in the Doha final.

Australia had three top six finishes in Doha - including Barber's victory - with Matt Denny finishing sixth in the discus and Brandon Starc sixth in the high jump.

 

Brandon Starc finished sixth in the high jump final. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty
Brandon Starc finished sixth in the high jump final. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty

 

Athletics Australia high performance boss Christian Malcolm described the championships as a good learning experience - there were 31 debutants - looking ahead to Tokyo.

"There were a few good performances, a few finalists, some notable PBs," Malcolm said. "The most important thing for me is seeing how some of the guys react to the step up at this level.

"I think it's been OK. Kelsey-Lee Barber was obviously outstanding. Matt Denny was outstanding - he's a baby in regards to discus throwing so for him to be in the final throwing a PB when it matters and coming sixth is brilliant for him.

"Brandon Starc was very solid. 2.30m in an interesting final. I think Brandon getting sixth will give him a lot of confidence going to Tokyo.

 

Dani Stevens is always a medal threat. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty
Dani Stevens is always a medal threat. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty

 

"But what is really exciting is there are a lot who are not here.

"The likes of Dani Stevens, Kurtis Marschall, Nina Kennedy, Kathryn Mitchell, who are all back home, you hope will all be in Tokyo and be in the final. I'm excited about that."

Malcolm named walker Jemima Montag and 400m runner Bendere Oboya as two youngsters who shone out in Doha.

"Jemima Montag was great, her preparation coming into the championships was fantastic and on a tough evening in that weather I was very impressed with her.

"And Bendere Oboya, she has done well to come in and run well, 51.2sec personal best. She is fearless in that 400."

Malcolm conceded the team still had a lot of work to do to fill the leadership void left by the retirement of Olympic great Sally Pearson but he'd been impressed with how Barber had handled her gold medal heroics.

A full review of the Doha world championships will take place over the coming weeks with the disappointing results from the three relay teams set to be at the top of the agenda.

Australia's two 4x400m teams failed to progress out of the heats while the 4x100m women's team didn't get the baton around in their heat.

News Corp Australia


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