Kelsey-Lee Barber takes bronze medal in javelin
Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Barber was in tears after winning a bronze medal in women’s javelin at the Tokyo Olympics, crowning a remarkable comeback for the 2019 world champion.
Barber threw a season record 64.56m, just five centimeters behind silver medalist Maria Andrejczyk of Poland, who threw 64.61m.
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China’s Liu Shiying won gold, taking the lead with her first throw of 66.34m, a mark that was not beaten for the remainder of the competition.
Barber broke down immediately after clinching bronze, hugging her husband and trainer, Mike.
Making his feat all the more special, Barber has struggled with a case of “yips” all season, where throwing the javelin over any competitive distance seemed next to impossible.
“There were times this year when Mike and I would sit and cry,” Barber said.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be successful here, let alone think I was going to win a medal… I didn’t want to give up and I didn’t want to stop fighting for it.”
Barber came close to being knocked out in the qualifying rounds, only reaching the final with her last throw. She later said that her preparation had been horrible, both mentally and physically.
“This year challenged me in so many ways, I worked hard for it and we found a way,” she said.
“Tonight, it was about victory, I wanted the gold medal, I wanted to go back to being Olympic champion.
“It felt like every throw was my last throw, because I know I can do something special.
“I am so proud of what I have accomplished tonight.”
Barber came terribly close to stealing the money with his last throw, dropping from 64.04m to 64.56m.
The three Australians have qualified for the final eight, the first time this has happened in either the men’s or women’s javelin.
Besides Barber, Kathryn Mitchell was sixth with a throw of 61.82m, while Mackenzie Little was eighth with a distance of 59.96m.
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