Australian giant Matthew Denny cemented his Olympic credentials less than 12 months out from the Paris Games by setting a new national discus record and collecting $46,000 for his Diamond League triumph in the US.
Queenslander Denny secured his first Diamond League triumph with the throw of his life, sending the discus 68.43m with a clutch final attempt in Oregon and taking down reigning Olympic and world champion Daniel Stahl from Sweden in the process.
Denny said he had to either “catch up or get left behind” the world’s best as he eyes off a medal in Paris.
“I was pretty keen to make amends for Budapest, so I’m happy with that. To get the win on one of the biggest comps of the year makes the fourth place a little less sour in my mouth to say the least,” Denny said.
“Nothing has really changed in regards to my focus for next year. I want to win (the Paris Olympic Games) and be on top, but this confirms my thoughts that I can mix it with the boys and take on those guys who are supposedly unbeatable.
“It’s either catch up or get left behind, and I don’t want to get left behind. I want to compete and I respect these guys, but it’s about being able to step up when it counts.”
Australian high jumper Nicola Olyslagers also went higher than any Australian woman in history, becoming the outright Oceania record holder by 1cm when soaring over 2.03m as she finished second place to Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh.
“I want to do a personal best at the Olympic Games. The goal is always the same – I want to get that 10 out of 10 jump like I did today and be able to really feel that I’m reaching my full potential and reach my platform in the right way,” Olyslagers said.
“I’m feeling really thankful of the year that’s been and the personal best was always the plan this year. To do it on my final competition was a blessing, and when I cleared 2.03m, I felt like I was running faster than I ever have before in those last few steps.
“I thought for a second, ‘Are my legs going to be able to hold this?’ It felt so fast and so powerful but I was able to do it and when I did it, I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, it was what was missing all year.’”
The performances come on the back of pole vaulter Nina Kennedy winning a world championship and Diamond League title in consecutive weeks to create hope for a bag of athletics medals in Paris.
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