A medical student, a reigning world champion and a javelin veteran have thrown themselves into the spotlight at the Tokyo Olympics

Australian trio Mackenzie Little, Kelsey Lee Barber and Kathryn Mitchell are through to the women’s javelin final on Friday night.

It’s the first time Australia has had three finalists in an Olympic throwing event.

A medical student at Stanford, Little, 24, set a new personal best with her first ever attempt at the Olympics with a throw of 62.37m to qualify fifth for the final.

Kelsey Lee Barber is one of three Aussies threw to the women's javelin final in Tokyo

Kelsey Lee Barber is one of three Aussies threw to the women's javelin final in Tokyo

Kelsey Lee Barber is one of three Aussies threw to the women’s javelin final in Tokyo

Her previous PB thrown of 61.42m last October put her sixth on the Australian All-Time list.

Reigning 2019 world champion Barber was on the cusp of being eliminated before saving her best for last with a season best 62.59m on her last attempt to qualify third.

Veteran and reigning Commonwealth Games champion Mitchell, 39, also progressed after qualifying 10th with a second attempt throw of 61.85m.

Barber, who finished second behind Mitchell at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast was relieved to make the final on her final throw.

Her PB is 67.70 metres set in 2019 while Mitchell still holds the national record of 68.92m set at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

‘I am sure my coach gets a heart attack, putting him in the hot seat,’ Barber told Channel Seven afterwards.

Little-known Aussie Mackenzie Little (pictured) qualified for the final with a new PB

Little-known Aussie Mackenzie Little (pictured) qualified for the final with a new PB

Little-known Aussie Mackenzie Little (pictured) qualified for the final with a new PB

‘I had a flashback to the Commonwealth Games, where (my throws) were pretty, they were neat – there was just nothing on them.

‘And I was not going out like that. That was my Rio experience and I was not having a repeat of that.

‘It was time to get fired up, be a competitor, be a performer and put something out there. I am really happy I did that.’

Barber described her form going into the Olympics as up and down.

‘I think the best way to describe the last couple of years has been character building, she said.

There’s been things thrown at me that I would never have anticipated as an athlete and as a person, and

I’ve had to find new ways to grow.  I am really happy to be here and I’m super, super excited for the final because, again,  I said in Rio I would be back out here ready to fight for a medal and I’m so in that space.

Mitchell will be hoping it will be third time lucky in Tokyo after finishing ninth at the 2012 Olympics in London and sixth in Rio five years ago. 

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