In her first competition for 14 months, Commonwealth Games discus gold medallists Dani Stevens nailed her Tokyo qualifier distance in her first competition back, at the Treloar Shield in Sydney.
For three-time Olympian discus thrower Dani Stevens (NSWIS) it would be an important start for her Tokyo 2020 campaign. She needed to exceed 63.50m – a distance she has achieved on more than 30 occasions in her career.
“I was pretty nervous coming into this as I haven’t competed in 14 months, but really happy I had two 65s and a 64 (metres) throws so really happy with the series at this point of the season,” Stevens said of her performance.
The NSW Institute of Sport athlete threw 60.78m, 64.23m, 65.93m and 65.23m – easily surpassing the Olympic standard.
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Big cheesy smiles for a big Tokyo Olympic Qualifier! 65.93m 😁 I was pretty nervous heading into my first competition in 14 months… but all of the rehab, patience and hard work has paid me back today. By no means is the job done, just very happy to throw a qualifier and be a lot closer to securing my spot for Tokyo. #TokyoTogether #Tokyo2020 #athleticsaustralia #asics #asicsgel #tokyo
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“Getting this qualifier has been a very big tick off my list.”
After winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in April 2018, she only competed twice more in 2018 and was making her 2019 debut yesterday.
“I started training specifically for Tokyo in July/August (2019), because I had to do a very big rehab block with my back.”
The injury forced Stevens out of Doha which would have been her seventh consecutive world championships
“It was hard to miss a championship due to injury, I haven’t done that ever, so I’m really happy with where I am at the moment. I feel very refreshed mentally not having gone to Doha and not competing in 14 months. I think it has done me the world of good. I’m stronger than ever in my back and torso. That sort of showed today as we haven’t really touched any speed work so to throw just under 66 metres I’m really happy.”
Stevens has a strong record at the world championships, gold in 2009 and silver in 2017.
“It was hard to watch (the Doha world championships) at the start I just wanted it to be over, but at the end of the discus I thought – okay done that season’s finished and we are moving on to Tokyo.”
At the Rio Olympics, Stevens missed a medal by just 44cm and has stated previously there is unfinished business at the Olympics.