Kelsey-Lee Barber makes athletics history in never-before-seen feat

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Kelsey-Lee Barber, pictured here after successfully defending her javelin title at the athletics world championships.
Kelsey-Lee Barber successfully defended her javelin title at the athletics world championships. Image: Getty

Australia's Kelsey-Lee Barber has become the first woman in athletics history to win back-to-back javelin titles at world championships level.

Barber further fuelled her reputation as a supreme big-event competitor at Hayward Field in Oregon on Friday evening with a huge third-round throw of 66.91 metres.

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The Aussie's winning throw was more than two-and-a half metres better than American Kara Winger's silver-medal effort of 64.05m.

Haruka Kitaguchi from Japan was third with 63.27m, while Australian Mackenzie Little finished fifth with a PB of 63.22m.

In winning the gold, Barber became the first woman to successfully defend a javelin title at the world championships after her triumph in 2019.

She also joined Cathy Freeman, Sally Pearson and Jana Pittman as Australia's only female athletes to win multiple gold medals at world championships level.

Barber and Freeman are now the only Australian athletes to successfully defend a title at the world championships after Freeman won back-to-back 400m gold medals in 1997 and 1999.

Kara Winger, Kelsey-Lee Barber and Haruka Kitaguchi, pictured here after the women's javelin final at the world championships.
Kara Winger, Kelsey-Lee Barber and Haruka Kitaguchi celebrate after the women's javelin final at the world championships. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The 30-year-old Barber has now won medals at each of her past three major championships - world gold in 2019 and 2022, and bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Three years ago at the world championships in Doha, Barber clinched gold with her final throw in dramatic scenes.

This time it happened much earlier in the competition, allowing her to watch on as her competitors tried in vain to match her mammoth third throw.

Athletics fans and commentator were left in disbelief over Barber's historic feat.

Catriona Bisset misses out on 800m final

Meanwhile, national record holder Catriona Bisset was unable to take advantage of her good fortune after being added to the 800m semi-finals having been pushed to the track in her opening-round heat.

The Aussie runner trailed home last in her semi-final in two minutes 05.20 seconds on Friday.

The Victorian required 11 stitches to mend a wound on her thigh after she was spiked by another runner after her fall.

Reigning Commonwealth champion Kurtis Marschall also bowed out of the men's pole vault qualifying round in disappointing fashion.

Kelsey-Lee Barber, pictured here celebrating with her medal after winning gold in the women's javelin.
Kelsey-Lee Barber celebrates with her medal after winning gold in the women's javelin. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Marschall's only successful jump was at 5.50m before he failed three times at 5.65m, way below his PB of 5.87m.

Earlier on Friday, 49-year-old mother-of-four Kelly Ruddick - the oldest female athlete ever to compete at a world championships - came home 34th of the 35 finishers in the women's 35km walk.

With two days of competition remaining, Australia now has three medals – two gold and a bronze – with the possibility of a few more to come.

Barber joined high-jumper Eleanor Patterson in winning gold for Australia, while Nina Kennedy claimed bronze in the pole-vault.

It is just the third time in history that Australia has won multiple gold medals at a single athletics world championships, after two in Osaka in 2007 and Berlin in 2009.

with AAP

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