Bronzed Aussie: No Little effort as Mackenzie wins javelin medal

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Budapest: Taking a leaf from compatriot Kelsey-Lee Barber’s book, Australian javelin thrower Mackenzie Little waited for her final throw to vault herself in the medals at the world championships.

She’d been sitting in fifth place and needed her last throw to be bigger by at least a metre-and-a-half than anything she’d produced earlier in the day. She delivered.

Mackenzie Little celebrates her bronze-medal throw in the javelin final in Budapest.Credit: Reuters

Little launched a throw 63.38 metres and for a few short minutes had her hands on the silver medal. There was nothing more she could do but wait and hope she wasn’t overtaken.

Moments later Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi, whom Little had pushed out of the medal positions, banged out a huge 66.73m throw to, not only leap-frog Little and force her into the bronze medal, but to jump clear into the gold medal from fourth place.

Kitaguchi’s last-gasp win borrowed from the playbook the reigning two-time Australian champion Barber had previously perfected. But Barber was unable to follow that script on this night. Her best effort of 61.19m left her well out of the medals in seventh place.

In a weird scene earlier, the other Australian among the 12 finalists, Kathryn Mitchell was introduced to the crowd alongside Little and Barber, smiling and waving to the cameras. Then barely minutes later she was walking off the field escorted by officials and slammed her water bottle into the ground in anger.

The women’s javelin medalists were Flor Denis Ruiz Hurtado, of Colombia (silver), gold medalist Haruka Kitaguchi, of Japan, and Australian Mackenzie Little.Credit: Getty

She had done one warm-up run after waving to the crowd and tore her adductor muscle.

Moments later fellow Australians Ash Moloney and Cedric Dubler both also suffered injuries and were forced to withdraw from the decathlon mid-competition.

And the Australian women’s 4x100m sprint relay team bungled their baton handover and were eliminated in their heat.

After Ebony Lane ran 11.93 seconds for the first leg and handed over to Bree Masters, Kristie Edwards was out of the box before Masters could hand over to her for the third leg. Fourth runner Torrie lewis was left standing on the track, helpless.

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