Australian Kim Mickle has produced the greatest competition of her life to claim the silver medal in the women’s javelin at the world athletics championships.
Mickle threw two personal bests in Sunday’s final – having also done so once in the qualifying rounds two days ago.
Her final throw of 66.60m was the second biggest of the competition, behind only the 69.05m gold-medal effort from Germany’s Christina Obergfoll in the second round.
The bronze went to reigning Olympic champion Maria Abakumova from Russia with 65.09m.
Australian Kathryn Mitchell also performed well, finishing fifth with a season’s best of 63.77m.
Mickle, 28, had vowed to produced her “boom tactic” of throwing the javelin as far as she could without thinking about it in the final and was true to her word.
Four of the West Australian’s six throws were over the 64m mark, with the 66.60m and 66.25m efforts the best two of her career.
Mickle had also smashed her previous best with a 65.73m heave in the qualifiers.
It was the second medal won by Australia in the women’s javelin at a world championships, matching the silver by Joanna Stone in Athens in 1997.
Obergfoll claimed a long-awaited first major gold.
She had previously won silver and bronze at the Olympics and been the runner-up at the 2005 and 2007 world championships.
Bronze medallist Abakumova is married to fellow Russian thrower Dmitri Tarabin, who received his javelin bronze medal in a ceremony held midway through the women’s competition.
Mickle’s last-day heroics ensured Australia finished the 2013 world championships with three medals – the others being a silver to Sally Pearson in the 100m hurdles and bronze to Jared Tallent in the 50km walk.
The only other Australians in action on day nine were the men’s 4x100m relay team.
They made a hash of the second change in the heats, when Josh Ross was unable to get the baton cleanly to Andrew McCabe.
Mickle said Sunday’s final was the most fun and the scariest thing she had done in her life — all at the same time.
“The boom tactic came out,” she said.
“It was always going to be a hit or miss sort of thing.
“The Russian (crowd) all got behind me on that last throw and I boomed the hell out of it.
“I almost got my Aussie record – I’ll get that next year.”
The silver medal was redemption for Mickle’s flop at last year’s London Olympics, when she bowed out in the qualifying round.
“It keeps popping into my mind how devastating last year was and how it’s flipped completely,” she said.
“It shows that rather than letting it get you down in the dumps, you use it as fuel.
“That’s what I’ve done this year and it’s got me a silver medal.
“My first throw was not very great so I tried to have another feeler and then activate the old boom.”