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Taking the Mickle

By Jon Kroiter

Kim Mickle shouldn’t have been at the Rio Olympics.

The javelin thrower was deemed fit for the Games despite only throwing a javelin with full effort three times since undergoing a reconstruction on her right shoulder.

Unsurprisingly, she dislocated her shoulder before her event was truly underway.

On the third throw of the qualifying round, Mickle’s shoulder gave way and the 31-year-old was left waiting on the field for assistance. Minutes later, she received treatment before going to hospital.

If the medical staff at Rio had a blunder, it was nothing compared to Athletics Australia’s gaffe.

Athletics Australia head coach Craig Hilliard defended the decision to send Mickle to the games despite the Western Australian hiding the full extent of her previous shoulder injury in the lead-up to last year’s World Championships.

That injury became aggravated in the championships and resulted in Mickle’s shoulder reconstruction.

Nothing changed in 2016.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph Hilliard said, “We wouldn’t have been taking risks given what occurred to her last year.”

Yet they did. Mickle may have done gym work and strengthened her shoulder. However, she didn’t regularly throw a javelin.

Australia’s coaching staff have come under fire for poor Australian performances during the Rio Olympics.

Swimming Australia head coach Jacco Verhaeren and Australian men’s hockey coach Graham Reid are both feeling the pressure after poor performances by some of the world’s best athletes.

Athletics Australia doesn’t have the same pressure as our national swimming or hockey coaches but a decision to send a javelin thrower who hasn’t been able to throw a javelin regularly appears ludicrous.

To defend that decision when she injures herself again is even more so.

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