Australian head coach Craig Hilliard defends decision to let Kim Mickle compete in Rio
Australian head coach Craig Hilliard defends decision to let Kim Mickle compete in Rio : AUSTRALIAN head coach Craig Hilliard has defended the decision to allow Kim Mickle to compete in Rio after the javelin star blew her shoulder apart for the second time in 12 months.
In horrible scenes inside the Olympic Stadium, Mickle grabbed her right shoulder in agony just after she released her third throw in the qualifying round.
It was immediately obvious the joint was dislocated and she wandered around the track desperate for assistance, which failed to come initially, before being escorted out of the stadium in tears and directly to hospital.
“She has dislocated her shoulder and it was after she released the javelin so it looks like it is the rear side of it,” Hilliard said. “We know nothing else other than she has gone to hospital to have it put in place.”
Mickle, 31, decided to hide the severity of a shoulder injury she suffered in the lead-up to last year’s world championships in Beijing.
That decision came back to haunt her as she hurt it again in the qualifying round and was required to have a shoulder reconstruction when she returned home to Australia.
The 2013 world championships silver medallist faced a race against time to get to Rio given it was just 11 months post-surgery but convinced herself and the Australian medical staff at the team’s pre-Olympic camp in Florida that she was fit enough to compete.
“Everything had been ticked off,” Hilliard said. “We wouldn’t have been taking risks given what occurred to her last year.
“It’s unfortunate because Kim did everything with her rehabilitation, she had MRI checks before she came away, she met all her fitness standards before she left and threw well in Florida.
“But once you have surgery on a shoulder it doesn’t matter what sport you’re in, the propensity for re-injuring is always high.
“She knew the risk but it is horrible for her.”
Mickle’s teammate Kathryn Mitchell, who threw in the other qualifying group, saw her friend come through the call room as she was preparing to compete.
“We saw her come through the call room holding her shoulder and it looked out of place,” Mitchell said. “It was a bit of a shock.
“She has done everything she can possibly do to get back for this competition, she has ticked every box in terms of her competition.
“She had to leave it all out there on the track tonight, she had to go for it, it’s the Olympic Games.
“I don’t think she even knew what would happen but you have to do that.
“She’ll bounce back, it’s Kim Mickle.”
Mitchell, who finished ninth in London four years ago, went on to qualify for the final, sneaking in last spot with a best throw of 61.63m.
“I didn’t expect to qualify in that manner but it doesn’t matter now, it’s done I am in,” she said.
“I was the twelfth qualifier in London and I hope to finish better than ninth place that I did there.
“I’m so relieved to get through, I think I deserve to be in the final as I have been in good shape.
“I belong in there with those girls and now we will fight it out then.”