Stevens chasing second world discus title
2 August 2017
ATHLETICS: Dani Stevens was the youngest female athlete to win a throwing world title when she came from the clouds to claim a shock discus gold as a raw 21-year-old back in 2009.
If she is to replicate that result in London on August 13, it will be as a vastly different athlete.
The women's discus is now dominated by Croatian Sandra Perkovic, the two-time Olympic champion who sits atop the 2017 world rankings with a best throw of 71.41m.
But the ultra-consistent Stevens (nee Samuels) also deserves to be in serious medal calculations, having twice thrown 66.78m this year to be fourth overall.
"I feel like I've jumped up in the last couple of years in terms of consistency," said the 29-year-old Stevens at the Australian pre-world championships camp in Tonbridge.
"We've always wanted to be at the point where it's 65-plus every single competition and it's taken a while to get there.
"It's taken years of hard work.
"I did throw 65.44 to win the world championships in 2009 but it's taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get consistent and be able to throw that rain, hail or shine."
Stevens said she was driven to greatness back in 2009 by the crushing disappointment of finishing ninth at the Beijing Olympics.
She was just as shattered to walk away with fourth spot from the Rio Olympics, just 44cm short of the bronze medal.
"In Rio things just didn't happen on the day," she said.
"It was a very tough schedule (with the qualifying round and final less than 24 hours apart) and when I needed to be revving it up to the next level I felt like I didn't have much left in the tank.
"I feel in great shape this year.
"Berlin seems like ages ago.
"I've been told that this is my sixth world championships team and that was my second team.
"When you think about everything that has happened in between it does feel like a lifetime ago but I still think about it very fondly.
"My coach still says to me 'you've been there, you were able to do that' so you just have to go out there with the same attitude."