Aussie athletics team coming home without a single gold

AFTER sending its biggest team to a world championships since Seville in 1999, Australian athletes will return home from Moscow with just two silver and one bronze medals.

Javelin thrower Kim Mickle added a silver on the final day with a personal best of 66.60m, lifting the team to 19th position on the medal table, just behind Uganda.

The other Aussies to make it onto the podium were our two medallists from the London Olympics - Sally Pearson (silver in the 100m hurdles) and Jared Tallent (bronze in the 50km walk).

Mickle joined Joanna Stone, who won silver in the 1997 world championships in Athens, as Australia's only female javelin medallists at international level.

The eight-time national champion said the second in Moscow went a long way toward making up for the disappointment of missing the final in London.

"I don't even know what to say. I can't believe that actually happened," the Australian team vice-captain said. "I enjoyed every moment of it. It was the scariest and funniest thing I've ever done in my life. It's a dream come true.

"This is redemption. It keeps popping into my mind how bad last year was, and this is the complete flip. It shows that you can't let yourself get down in the dumps, you just use it as fuel."

While the team won just three medals, several other results suggested more podium finishes could be on the way at next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Among them was Kathryn Mitchell who finished fifth in the women's javelin with a season best throw of 63.77m, Zoe Buckman who finished seventh in the women's 1500m final, and Jess Trengove who finished 11th in the marathon, the best result by an Aussie woman in the event at a world championships.

The undoubted star of the games, however, was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

The 26-year-old anchored his team to victory in the 4x100m relay on the final night, taking his tally from Moscow to three gold after capturing the 100m and 200m earlier in the program.

His total of eight gold and two silver medals makes Bolt the most successful athlete in the history of the world championships.

The only other athletes to have won eight world championship gold medals are Americans Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix.

Apart from Bolt, the other star in Moscow was British middle distance runner Mo Farah who repeated his London double by winning the 5000m and 10,000m, prompting some commentators to suggest he was the country's greatest-ever athlete, ahead of Olympic champions Sebastian Coe and Daley Thompson.

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