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Aussie women jump and throw way into finals

17 August 2016

ATHLETICS: Brooke Stratton tonight became the first Australian woman in 12 years to qualify for the Olympic final in the women’s long jump.

On a night of last-gasp heroics at Rio’s Olympic Stadium, Kathryn Mitchell also saved her best for last to qualify for the women’s javelin final.

Stratton showed great composure and concentration to secure her place in the final with a last leap of 6.56 metres.

It was a superb effort under pressure, with the Australian out of the qualification places leading in to her final jump.

Stratton, 23, from Victoria, admitted she was feeling the pressure.

“It’s definitely not the best way to go about it leaving it to the last jump and I definitely felt the pressure because I came here to make the final after missing it last year at the world championships by 4cm,” said Stratton.

“So having that in the back of my mind made me realise I needed to jump bigger and that’s what I did.”

While Stratton celebrated, there was disappointment for fellow Australian Chelsea Jaensch.

Jaensch posted a best leap of 6.41m to finish 17th and miss a place in the final.

The last Australian to make the women’s long jump final was Bronwyn Thompson in 2004 at Athens, who finished fourth.

The women’s long jump final is tomorrow night at 9.15pm (Thursday August 18 at 10.15am AEST).

Stratton’s final round magic was replicated at the nearby javelin.

In a dramatic qualifying round in which Aussie Kim Mickle was injured, Mitchell was sitting outside the qualifying positions as she approached the runway for her final throw.

With the pressure on the Aussie duly delivered with a last throw of 61.63m to claim the 12th and final position.

“I never expected to qualify in that matter,” said Mitchell.

“But it doesn’t matter now, that’s done and I’m in and I’ll be focusing on Thursday night.”

Kelsey-Lee Roberts and Mickle both missed a place in the final.

Mickle finished 22nd while Roberts, 24, finished 28th.

There was concern for 31-year-old Mickle, who dislocated her shoulder during her final throw. She's been taken to hospital with the athletics team doctor with a further update on her condition due tomorrow.

The women’s javelin final is on at 9.10pm Thursday August 18 (10.10am Friday August 19).

Sophie Onikul

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