Glasgow spearheads Roberts' javelin ambitions

A baptism of fire awaits Kelsey-Lee Roberts when she takes to the centre of Hampden Park stadium for the Commonwealth Games javelin competition in front of more than 100,000 spectators.  

Wednesday evening's event is the first international competition for the 22-year-old Canberran but, having only recently decided to dedicate herself to the javelin, she hopes it will be ''the first of many''.

Canberra javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Roberts
Canberra javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Roberts Photo: Jay Cronan

Roberts took up javelin as a 17-year-old and, until last year, she was juggling it with netball, captaining Arawang to the premiership in the Canberra state league.

''I was trying to do both and couldn't decide which one to pursue,'' she said. ''I think the way it fell into place was I was better suited to javelin in terms of my height and my athleticism, and it gave me a real opportunity to kind of push the world standards.

Roberts gets ready for her international debut at the Commonwealth Games.
Roberts gets ready for her international debut at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

''I certainly have missed playing netball, especially for that team aspect and that team environment … but I have no regrets in saying that I wanted to wholeheartedly invest my time into my javelin.''

Roberts started training under coach Aaron Holt, who connected her with local weightlifter Kylie Lindbeck to improve her power.


"[Lindbeck] obviously, being a weightlifter, has that real power aspect, so she's been able to bring that training integrated into my stuff – really dynamic, power-based lifting, which is perfect transfer for javelin," she said. 

The training paid off, with Roberts throwing a Commonwealth Games A-qualifying distance of 60.12 metres at an ACT athletics club meeting in January, the first time she had exceeded the 60 metres benchmark.

A technicality ruled the result ineligible for qualifying for the Games however as there were not enough people in the competition.

Two weeks later and still early in the season, Roberts put that disappointment behind her to throw another personal best of 63.95 metres at the ACT Athletics Championships.

''It was a very exciting time for me – I went through my first real domestic season competing at the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) challengers and then the grand prix meets and … I made my spot even more secure when I threw another A-qualifier in Perth,'' she said.

The reality of booking her place to Glasgow really sank in when she packed her bags for Europe two weeks ago.

''As exciting as it is to be able to compete in my first international, I hope this is just the first of many,'' she said.

''[This is] a huge stepping stone for me.

''I'm going to use it as an experience, try to develop as much as I can from it, learn from it, and I really hope to make world championships next year, Olympics the year after and just continue that run for as long as I can.

''I really want to be a world competitor in terms of javelin.''