Tough Tokyo road for javelin star Mitchell

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For many of the world's leading athletes, an Olympic Games in the time of COVID-19 means leaving loved ones and coaches behind as they chase medals in Tokyo.

It's quite the opposite for Australian javelin star Kathryn Mitchell.

The 39-year-old Victorian's coach and partner is German Uwe Hohn, the only man to have ever thrown a javelin more than 100 metres.

Hohn is also India's javelin coach.

The pair had planned to finally meet again in Europe early this year, only for Hohn to get caught up in the lockdown when the coronavirus epidemic ravaged India.

When Hohn and Mitchell finally catch up in Tokyo it will be their first time together in 20 months.

"He gets to Tokyo about the same time as I do so that will be great," Mitchell told AAP.

"But to be honest we don't really know how it's all going to play out and I've got to have a chat to our medical team about that.

"We have to keep our distance from everybody so we haven't made any plans until we get there.

"What I can say is I think it's going to be weird."

As India has an entrant in the women's javelin, Hohn will be on hand when Mitchell practises and competes in Tokyo.

It will be a welcome change from the last 20 months, which Mitchell readily admits has been the toughest period of her long career.

"Uwe and I talk every day," she said.

"I'll send him videos of technical stuff.

"We've tried doing live training sessions but it can be difficult with internet connections.

"We've had periods previously where I've had to train by myself, but that would be a maximum of three months at a time.

"And most of last year I had a shoulder problem which affected my technique, so I felt quite lost a lot of the time.

"That was on every level - personally as well and with the motivation of getting up every day to turn up to the track by myself with Uwe so far away.

"It wore me down, but we're here now and I think I've done some good work."

Due to travel restrictions and with Hohn trapped in India, Mitchell decided to complete her Olympics preparation at home rather than travel to Europe.

The standard in women's javelin this year has been extremely high, with four women having thrown beyond 66m, headed by Poland's Maria Andrejczyk (71.40m).

But noted big-event performer Mitchell knows that huge throws off Broadway don't necessarily translate to top-level performances when the heat is on at the Olympics.

The Australian's personal best of 68.92m secured her the gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, while she has finished in the top eight at the past two Olympics and was fifth at the 2013 world championships.

With reigning world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber struggling to get anywhere near the form that saw her win gold in Doha in 2019, Mitchell shapes as Australia's best hope of a medal in the women's javelin in Tokyo.

"I tend not to look at distances going into a major championships because I know that anything can happen on the day," she said.

"Obviously it's good if you are throwing well, but that doesn't mean it's just going to happen because higher expectations and more presure can work against some athletes.

"I can draw on my experience - you know what to expect, you know how you're going to feel and you know what you have to do.

"You don't let the bigness of the occasion take over, because that's when you run into trouble."

Once the Games are finished, the plan for Mitchell and Hohn is to set up life together in Australia.

But as with so much else in these strangest of times, it's unlikely to be a straightforward process.

Hohn does not have Australian residency, so even getting a flight down under in the near future is likely to prove difficult.

"We're already looking at the visa options," said Mitchell.

"He'll have a holiday after the Games and will hopefuly be able to head home to Germany.

"Once we get things in place he'll come out to Australia, which will be great."

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