Field Athletics

Can world number one Kelsey Lee Barber secure gold in Tokyo? Photo: Australian Olympics Committee

Which athletes will not throw away their shot, go the furthest, and reach new heights in Tokyo's Field Athletics programme?

With 16 medals up for grabs in field athletics, athletes will jump and throw with all their might to taste Olympic glory. For all your Olympic coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

Of Australia’s 64 athletics team members, 13 will be participating in the field athletic events, which takes place in the confines of the Athletics track.

The field category can be further divided into subcategories – jumps (High jump, long jump, pole vault and triple jump) and throws (Javelin, discus, shot put, hammer throw).

Due to the nature of the disciplines, they are completed one at a time, rather than in heats or groups. Each athlete has a turn, in which they attempt to launch themselves, or an object the highest or furthest. The standings are decided based on the height or distance achieved by the athlete.

The field events begin with a qualification stage, with the highest performers advancing to finals.

After the addition of the Javelin throw in London 1908, the Men’s field athletics events have remained the same, while the women’s has mirrored the men’s since Atlanta 1996 when they added the triple jump, and Sydney 2000 when the hammer throw and pole vault was added to the programme.

Field Athletics will run concurrently with the track, road and combined events, and take place in the Olympic Stadium between 30 July until August 7.

Rewinding to Rio

Australia did not place in any field events in Rio, however Brandon Starc (High jump) and Henry Frayne (Long jump) did qualify for finals in the men’s events, and Brooke Stratton (Long jump), Alana Boyd (Pole Vault), Dani Stevens (nee Samuels) (Discus) and Kathryn Mitchell (Javelin) qualified for the women’s.

The United States of America took out 10 medals total, five of which were gold. They dominated the long jump and shot put events, with Jeff Henderson and Tianna Bartoletta winning the long jump events, while Michelle Carter and Ryan Crouser took out shot put, the latter breaking an Olympic record. Additionally, Christian Taylor won the triple jump gold medals. Of the other five medals, four were silver, and one was silver.

In his home country, Brazillian Thiago Braz da Silva broke the Olympic record for men’s pole vault, becoming the first Olympian to break the 6-metre mark with 6.03m.

In other men’s jumping events, Canada’s Derek Drouin secured gold in high jump. For throws, Germany won two of the four medals available, with Christopher Harting winning the discus throw and Thomas Röhler taking out javelin throw. The final medal went to Tajikistani Dilshod Nazarov in the hammer throw.

Croatian duo Sandra Perković and Sara Kolak won the women’s discus and javelin throws, while Anita Wołodarczyk took gold in the hammer throw. As for jumps, Spain’s Ruth Beitia won high jump, Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi won pole vault and Columbian Caterine Ibargüen took out triple jump.


GenderEventQualification DatesMedal date
Men’sDiscus throwJuly 30July 31
High jumpJuly 30August 1
Long jumpJuly 31August 2
Pole vaultJuly 31August 3
Hammer throwAugust 2August 4
Triple jumpAugust 3August 5
Shot putAugust 3August 5
JavelinAugust 4August 7
Women’sTriple jumpJuly 30August 1
Shot put July 30August 1
Discus throwJuly 31August 2
Long jumpAugust 1August 3
Hammer throwAugust 1August 3
Pole vaultAugust 2August 5
Javelin throwAugust 3August 6
High jumpAugust 4August 7

More Tokyo 2020 news:

Tokyo 2020 Preview: Road Cycling – No yellow bricks on the way to gold

Rollers unveil stacked squad for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Tokyo 2020 Preview: Heptathlon/Decathlon – Who is the ultimate athlete?

Going for gold


Sweden’s Armand Duplantis broke the world record in early 2020 and is world number one in pole vault. He is in elite condition to contend for gold in Tokyo. For the Women, Greece’s Stefanidi will look to defend her Rio Gold, however, world number one Anzhelika Sidorova of the ROC will give her a run for her money.

Also putting their hand up for gold from the ROC is three-time world champion Mariya Lasitskene, and Ilya Ivanuk, who are both ranked first in the world for high jump.

It’s an arm wrestle between Jamacia’s Tajay Gayle and Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarría for gold in the men’s long jump. Ranked number one and two in the world, they share the same amount of ranking points (1432), with podium finished across their past 5 events. For the women, Malaika Mihambo is likely to bring home gold for Germany.

In triple jump, Taylor, despite being world number one, will not defend his Rio gold, opening the door for fellow countryman and world number two Will Claye to lock in gold for the USA. Current world champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela has the best odds for gold in the women’s event.


Rio gold medalist Ryan Crouser is set to defend his medal after breaking the world record in shot put in the USA athletics trials this year. Ranked first in the world, he is a shoe-in for gold in Tokyo. China’s Lijiao Gong is expected to win gold after finishing first in the world championships and locking in the world number one ranking.

For javelin, it’s Australian Kelsey Lee Barber who is putting her hand up for women’s gold after winning the 2019 World Championships to put her first in the world rankings. However, she has been inactive on the world stage, and challengers have arisen, such as Sara Kolak, who will look to defend her Rio gold. Germany’s Johannes Vetter is looking likely to strike gold in Tokyo, also ranked first in the world.

Sweden’s Daniel Ståhl is a favourite for gold in the discuss throw after finishing first in his past five meets, while Cuban Yaimé Pérez is the favourite for the women’s, also ranked first in the world.

In the hammer throw, with Nazarov not participating, it opens the door for a new gold medallist in both the men’s events, with Poland’s Paweł Fajdek looking like the likely replacement. As for the women, it’s hard to look past Anita Wołodarczyk, who holds 27 of the top 30 women’s hammer throw results and is going for her third Olympic gold medal.

Green and gold going for gold

Nina Kennedy

Pole Vaulter might be ranked 15th in the world, but she is definitely on the rise. In the 2021 Australian qualifiers, she reached 4.82m, which is also the new Australian record. This is the fifth-best score in the world and beats Rio medallist Ekaterini Stefanidi‘s score best score for the year by 2cm.

She finished third in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth games, proving, she is more than capable of a podium finish.

Nicola McDermott

McDermott is ranked eighth in the world in high jump, with fellow Australian Eleanor Patterson only two placed below her. In 2021, she became the first Australian woman to surpass the 2m mark, jumping 2.01m is Stockholm, only two centimetres behind the best jump in the world this year.

Not only has she broken the Australian record twice, but she also beat the winning mark in Rio 2016 which was 1.97m, propelling her into medal discussions.

Brandon Starc

The high jumper is ranked fifth in the world after stringing together some excellent performances in the lead-up. In 2021, he finished in Florence, jumping 2.33m, equal to world number one Ilya Ivanuk‘s result. Starc holds the Australian record with 2.36m, which was the mark reached by the silver medalist in Rio 2016 and only a centimetre behind the highest score achieved this year.

A podium finish isn’t unusual for him, after winning gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.


The Australian Field Athletics squad

Kelsey-Lee BarberJavelin2nd (2016)
Matthew DennyDiscus Throw2nd (2016)
Henry FrayneLong Jump3rd (2012, 2016)
Nina KennedyPole VaultDebut
Mackenzie LittleJavelin ThrowDebut
Kurtis MarschallPole Vault2nd (2016)
Nicola McDermottHigh JumpDebut
Kathryn MitchellJavelin Throw3rd (2012, 2016)
Elizaveta ParnovaPole Vault2nd (2016)
Eleanor PattersonHigh Jump2nd (2016)
Brandon StarcHigh Jump2nd (2016)
Dani StevensDiscus4th (2016, 2012, 2008)
Brooke StrattonLong Jump2nd (2016)

Dani Stevens and Steve Solomon (Track) are captains of the Australian Athletics team for Tokyo.

Field Athletics will run concurrently with the sprint, road and combined events, and take place in the Olympic Stadium between 30 July until August 8.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply