West Australian Lauren Mitchell is on track to spearhead Australia's Olympic assault in London next year after a top-eight finish in the individual all-around at the world championships in Tokyo last night.
The 19-year-old, who has been Australia's beacon on the world stage since 2007, wrapped up the championships with a score of 56.
Mitchell, the floor champion from last year's world championships, led the scoring in her pet event with a mark of 15.033 - 1.33 clear of her closest rival American Aly Raisman.
However, an error on the beam cost her a 1.2 deduction robbing her of a chance of a medal all-around after scoring 13.933.
A strong vault score of 14.66 kept her in the hunt but a downgraded uneven bars exercise, because of injury, could only earn her a 13.133.
National coach Peggy Liddick said Mitchell and WAIS teammate Emily Little would play key roles in Australia's Olympic campaign after qualifying for the all-around final in Tokyo alongside the top 24 gymnasts in the world.
"Lauren has hardly been able to train during the past two weeks because of ankle injuries," Liddick said.
"She did a great job finishing as well as she did because her ankles were so tightly taped that it prevented her from flexing which is crucial to stick your landings."
She said Mitchell showed the rest of the world she would be a threat for gold on the floor and an all-around medal in London if she could beat her ankle problems.
Liddick said Little, who had been the team's strongest vaulter, had her first mishap on her favourite event last night which will be a huge lesson going forward. Little finished 23rd all-around.Australia finished eighth in the team competition to secure a spot at the Olympics.
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