SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Kelsey-Lee Barber sneaks into javelin final at worlds


Javelin queen Kelsey-Lee Barber has earned an improbable reprieve in Budapest, keeping alive her dream of becoming the first Australian to win three world track and field titles.

The two-time defending world champ looked certain to crash out in the qualifying round on Wednesday when she could only manage a best throw of 59.66m, more than eight metres shy of her personal best.

It left her in eighth spot overall at the halfway stage.

If five women in the second of two groups threw further than 59.66m - which seemed like a formality - Barber would have been eliminated.

But only four of them were able to do so, meaning the 31-year-old clinched the 12th and last spot in the final on Friday (early Saturday AEST).

"I had three throws, three unsuccessful automatic qualifying throws and I'm in a position where I have to wait and see," Barber said before learning she had qualified by just 7cms.

"Not that it didn't feel right, my objective today was to go out there and really connect with the javelin.

"Did I accomplish that? Probably not - that shows in the distances that came out."

As the consummate big-event performer, Barber will still believe she is a legitimate medal hope in a final where Australia will have a full complement of three throwers.

She is one of only four Australian athletes to have won two world championship golds, a select group also including alltime greats Cathy Freeman, Jana Pittman and Sally Pearson.

Joining Barber in the final in Budapest will be 41-year-old national record holder Kathryn Mitchell and rising star Mackenzie Little.

Mitchell wasted no time with an auto qualifier of 62.10m on the very first throw of the competition - her biggest in what has been an injury-plagued year.

Little did it much tougher, leaving it until the final round before unleashing her best throw of 63.45m to advance in second place overall.

West Australian pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall confirmed his burgeoning status as a legitimate medal shot.

He was a perfect four-from-four in the qualifying round, including an effortless clearance at 5.75m.

Also through to Friday's final is Marschall's close friend and occasional training partner, world record holder Armand Duplantis from Sweden.

Catriona Bisset and Abbey Caldwell advanced to the women's 800m semis on Friday with impressive heat runs.

Ella Connolly was a non-starter in the women's 200m heats due to a hamstring complaint, while Aidan Murphy was eliminated in the opening round of the men's 200m.

Luckless Australians Chris Mitrevski and Liam Adcock (both 7.99m) missed out on a spot in the men's long jump final by just 1cm.