A 15-month wait between competitions has javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber relying on the Australian Institute of Sport more than ever, as clouds continue to hover over the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In her decade-long affiliation with the national institute, the past year has been the toughest as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on Barber's bid for gold.
Lockdowns, travel restrictions and cancellations have prevented Barber from competing since securing the world championship at Doha with a 66.56-metres throw in late 2019.
The Canberra-based athlete has instead continued her Tokyo preparations at the AIS, with the institute instrumental in keeping Barber and fellow Olympians on track to reach their goals.
The COVID-19 challenge is just one chapter in the AIS' 40-year history, with the site set to reach that milestone on January 26.
It's given Barber a chance to reflect on her journey with the AIS, which started with an aspiring 18-year-old thrower to conquering the world's stage.
"I look back on this now and I think it was one of the best opportunities I've been given in life," Barber said.
"I know it was by chance we were living here at that point of time but it was always a dream of mine to be an athlete here.
"It really exposed me to what high performance was, what it meant to be a professional athlete and what the environment created to perform. That really fueled me to follow my dreams to the Olympics, world championships, to team representation and be a professional athlete.
"It was one of the best things that happened to me as a young athlete, I'm really grateful and thankful for that opportunity in my very early days.
"I'm so proud to still say that I train at the Australian Institute of Sport because it still carries a lot of meaning behind it for me, it's something to be proud of."
Barber started her affiliation with the AIS in 2010, joining the para-throws group as a training partner under Alison O'Riordan.
A decade later, the AIS had a custom-made indoor net designed to allow her to continue training when the capital was under a blanket of hazardous bushfire smoke last summer.
The innovation paid dividends during winter, when 29-year-old Barber would usually be overseas with her coach and husband Mike for the European athletics season.
They were able to move her training indoors through Canberra's coldest months, which are unfavourable conditions for javelin throwing.
"There really is a lot that goes on helping athlete achieve the best that they can achieve with what they've got," Barber said.
"It's unbelievable the support an athlete can get from a place like this, all in one place. I don't have to go searching, I don't have to travel far for it and it really helps me complete the best training I can day by day."
Although national sporting organisations are now spread across the country, athletes still come to the AIS regularly for training camps.
Barber trained with junior world champion Nash Lowis last week via one of those camps, saying she loves seeing the younger generation of athletes coming on board at the AIS each year.
"I really enjoy being around the younger generation of throwers and training alongside them is one thing, it's fun," Barber said.
"They've got so much youth, they're so green in the sport and take it as an opportunity to talk about the events, their aspirations and get a sense of the world of javelin.
"[Lowis] is a male thrower, so he throws further than me. It's really fun to see the javelin fly and it really motivates me. It works both ways.
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"I hope he gets something out of being here and training alongside us, I certainly enjoy having him around as another training partner as well.
"The energy that comes from a group environment is awesome - as an individual sport you don't often get that and it sometimes requires to have that motivation day by day. So it's nice to have a group to rely and lean on every now and then to give you a lift for a session."
Barber is counting down to her first event since Doha on February 25, which will be the first of two national competitions at the AIS Track and Field Centre this season.
She'll compete in the Summer Super Series next month, before turning her focus to the Canberra Track Classic on March 11.
"Mike has done an awesome job in figuring out my best taper that will get my body in the best shape possible. There's still a lot that goes into the preparation of being ready to compete, that's the biggest challenge for me this year," Barber said.
"We're not sure what the competition schedule will look like post domestic season. I'm really going to make the most of those opportunities in Australia this year to compete, get back into the rhythm and exposure to it, and the challenge of performing when it counts.
"Those are the elements you don't necessarily get to train unless you're exposed to them. That's the bit I feel I'm really missing at the moment, just being among it, around the competitors and people challenging me to throw further."