Five athletes selected for the Australian Olympic team

Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia competes in the Women's Javelin at the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia competes in the Women's Javelin at the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Athletic champions to make appearance at next year's Tokyo 2020 Games

Team Australia have named their first five athletes for their Olympic team.

Leading the pack is reigning javelin World Champion Kelsey-Lee Barber, who will be joined by Rio bronze medallist walker Dane Bird-Smith. Both athletes are taking part in their second Olympic Games.

Completing the Tokyo 2020 list are national champion runners Jessica Hull (5000m) and Stewart McSweyn (5000m and 10000m) and racewalker Jemima Montag - who will all be making their Olympic debut next year.

A second chance

In Rio 2016, Barber dealt with a stress facture in her back which influenced her training and performance at the Games. Her Olympic dreams were dashed when she finished 28th in the qualifying round.

With the announcement of a spot in the Olympic Australian squad, Barber is ecstatic to get a second chance.

“It’s a wonderful feeling, it makes the Games feel real again,” Barber said. “It’s been my motivation since Rio to get back to an Olympic stadium – it’s something now I can set up the plan and start working towards it," she told Olympics.com.au.

"I can't wait to represent the @ausolympicteam in Tokyo. Bring on the next 12 months," Barber posted on her Instagram.

Meanwhile, Champion race walker and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Bird-Smith celebrated the announcement at his old primary school.

Whilst this is his second Olympic Games, Bird-Smith plans to retire after Tokyo 2020.

"Tokyo will be the last Olympics for me. The body is willing (for 2024) but the mind, not so, because I do a lot of training solo and it just becomes mentally taxing," he told Queensland Courier Mail back in June.

Dane Bird-Smith of Australia celebrates winning bronze in the Men's 20km Race Walk at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Dane Bird-Smith of Australia celebrates winning bronze in the Men's 20km Race Walk at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

Olympic debut

Hull has been selected just a week after her spectacular performance in the Monaco Diamond League meet last week.

The Australian athlete shatterred the 18-year-old Australian 5000m record and finished fourth at 14:43.80, shaving off four seconds off the national record set by Benita Willis in Berlin back in 2002.

And now with a Tokyo 2020 ticket, Hull can't wait to take part in the Games next year.

“It gives me goosebumps to think about Tokyo,” Hull said. “While we have to wait another year, it will increase the buildup and heighten the emotion, we’re going to be so happy when we get out there. It’s a childhood dream and now I know I’ll be there in Tokyo,” she said.

Long distance runner and world no 14 Stewart Mcweyn also tackled the Monaco Diamond League competition and finished sixth, which is a few seconds out of his personal best of 13:05.23.

Now confirmed for his first Olympic Games, Mcweyn has based himself in London in order to improve his results. He will be training together with international teammates Matt Ramsden, Ryan and Genevieve Gregson.

"Honoured to officially be named on the Australian Olympic Team for next year! Thanks to my team for making it happen," Mcweyn posted on his Instagram.

Racewalker Jemima Montag, who is the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in 20km walk event, also punched a ticket for next year.

"Best boarding pass ever! It’s official!," she said on one of her social posts.

She is also looking forward to find out who among her other fellow Australian athletes will make berth for Tokyo 2020.

"Cheering all of our other teammates on towards your selection!," she added.