World champ Kelsey-Lee Barber embraces extra hype for golden Olympic dream

Canberra javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber is aiming for a world championships medal. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
Canberra javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber is aiming for a world championships medal. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Kelsey-Lee Barber has been swept away into a new life of television shows, adoring fans and awards thanks to her status as the javelin world champion.

But the one thing that has never changed is her unwavering determination to chase Olympic Games redemption as she begins plotting her path to Tokyo.

Barber won Canberra's female athlete of the year prize on Friday night, a fitting recognition for becoming just Australia's ninth athletic world champion in Doha in October.

The past two months have been a blur. Requests to appear on TV and a holiday to New Zealand have been added to her training schedule, which is set to be ramped up in the coming weeks.

"It's full steam ahead to Tokyo from now, all the plans, training and preparation all start and are geared towards that," Barber said.

"For me, it's so clear in my mind that [winning the world title] is just the start of what I want to achieve. There's so much more ... and having a moment like that on the international stage, I want to keep striving for it.

"If anything, it's nice to reflect on. But it's just as much motivation going forward."

Barber's career has taken massive strides forward in the past 12 months, throwing career-best distances and announcing herself as a genuine medal contender.

Husband and coach Mike has been instrumental in keeping Barber on track to reach her goals.

They spent three months in Europe this year, the constant training and targeted competitions leading to a personal best of 67.7 metres in Lucerne in July. It moved her to 12th on the world all-time list and second in Oceania.

So she celebrated her Canberra sport award victory on Friday night, but was straight back in the gym on Saturday morning.

"We'll probably aim for the Brisbane Track Classic, or the national championships, which will be at the end of March," Barber said.

"I definitely need the base training behind me going into each season and we've still got time to put that together, that's what helps me into the European seasons. This is an important time of year for me."

Barber has already thrown her Olympic qualifying distance and her status as world champion eases the pressure before the Games, which start in July.

But an inspirational speech from special guest and wheelchair racing legend Kurt Fearnly at the function on Friday ensured the fire was burning.

"That's the first time I've had the chance to listen to him. It's incredible. It certainly resonated with me," Barber said.

This story World champ embraces extra Olympic hype first appeared on The Canberra Times.