Kelsey-Lee Barber's surprise welcome after world championship win

Champagne, cookies, balloons and flowers. Kelsey-Lee Barber's world championship party arrived back in Canberra to a hero's welcome on Tuesday morning.

But the javelin star is already starting to shift her focus to the Tokyo Olympic Games, declaring she wants to create her own legacy to inspire the next generation.

Kelsey-Lee Barber and dad Keith at Canberra airport. Picture: Karleen Minney

Kelsey-Lee Barber and dad Keith at Canberra airport. Picture: Karleen Minney

Barber and Canberra's other world championship athletes Melissa Breen and Lauren Wells returned home on the same flight as cyclist Chloe Hosking.

Barber was the main attraction after claiming gold at the world titles in Doha last week, putting herself in a perfect position less than a year before the Olympics.

It has also thrust her into the spotlight as one of Australia's biggest medal hopes next year, especially after the retirement of Sally Pearson.

"I guess it's a coincidence Sally retired this year and I was able to step up and win a gold medal," Barber said.

"But I don't want to look to fill the spot Sally had in track and field. She was an amazing athlete and I don't want to step into that role.

Canberra's world champion javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber returned to Canberra on Tuesday. Picture: Karleen Minney

Canberra's world champion javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber returned to Canberra on Tuesday. Picture: Karleen Minney

"I'd prefer to make my own pathway in the sport and inspire a generation of throwers as they come through. More than anything I just want to share it with other athletes.

"I'd love to see more athletes taking the reins in athletics in Australia rather than just one person."

Barber was greeted by training partners and junior athletes, as well as proud parents Keith and Bev, when she walked through the arrival doors with her gold medal.

She hopes to walk through the same door next year with Olympic gold dangling around her neck.

"That's definitely the goal and I think I can take confidence from [last week]," Barber grinned.

Barber has been in brilliant form over the past 18 months, starting with winning silver at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast last year.

She has hit her peak this year, throwing a personal best 67.7 metres in Switzerland and using a three-month stint in Europe to launch her world title bid.

The 28-year-old puts her remarkable form down to overhauling her training regiment after crashing out of the Rio Olympics three years ago.

"I've had a few people ask me [about what's changed] and it's honestly just about consistency," Barber said.

Kelsey-Lee Barber is aiming high for Tokyo. Picture: Dallas Kilponen

Kelsey-Lee Barber is aiming high for Tokyo. Picture: Dallas Kilponen

"After 2016 in Rio, there were some things that needed some big improvements and we addressed those.

"It's just been consistent training, consistent work and then topping up what I needed to with my body and the mental side of things.

"Its been an accumulation of really good work. I had some injuries in 2016 and my body wasn't coping with the load of throwing. We needed to address what that was.

"Back then it was my back and core strength, which we've addressed. I'm looking to go further and push the distance."

Dad Keith and mum Bev might have to start mass producing their special shirts if Barber continues her rise on to the world stage.

Keith was itching to see his daughter, taking a close look at her gold medal and then telling her: "I'm so proud of you".

Returning to Canberra after more than 100 days on the road with coach and husband Mike helped Barber's achievements finally sink in.

"Honestly, it hasn't sunk in and I don't know if it will. I'm still replaying the moment and trying to understand what I was able to achieve," Barber said.

"I thought I'd done enough to get on the podium. I think it's going to start sinking in now that I'm home because you're in a bubble when you're over there. Seeing family and friends ... it's nice to share it with them."