Dani Stevens of Australia in action during the Women's Discus Throw Final on day eight of the XXI Commonwealth Games, at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 12, 2018. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Dani Stevens of Australia in action during the Women's Discus Throw Final on day eight of the XXI Commonwealth Games, at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 12, 2018. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Dani Stevens smashes record to leave rivals in a spin

IN racing parlance Dani Stevens was the Winx of the Commonwealth Games.

Like the wonder mare it wasn't a matter of if she's win but by how much.

And Stevens did it in Winx-like style, smashing the Games record to win by almost eight metres.

The defending champion led from the start but it was with her fourth throw that she knocked the field out, launching the discus 68.26m.

That comfortably surpassed the previous mark held by New Zealand's Beatrice Faumuina of 65.92m set in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

 

Dani Stevens broke Commonwealth Games record that had stood for 20 years. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Dani Stevens broke Commonwealth Games record that had stood for 20 years. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

 

"It's just amazing, the crowd support is unreal," Stevens said.

"I feel lucky to have experienced two home Commonwealth Games and I knew how great and how electric this atmosphere was going to be as I'd been in Melbourne (in 2006.)"

She admitted to feeling the pressure going in given she was one of the shortest priced favourites at the Games at $1.15.

"I did a little bit (feel the pressure)," she said. "I was able to take it in my stride a bit and I learnt a lot in Rio and then applied that in London last year.

"I felt a lot more calm and in control.

"So it was fantastic to get such a good throw out, the Games record was definitely on my mind."

Stevens finished almost 8m ahead of her closest competitor on the Gold Coast. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Stevens finished almost 8m ahead of her closest competitor on the Gold Coast. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

 

Stevens is now a local on the Gold Coast having moved up three years ago with her husband Joe.

"She'll be over the moon," Joe said. "You can't beat that. The only thing missing is the Olympics (medal) so onwards and upwards to Tokyo in 2020."

Stevens, 29, has enjoyed a career resurrection in recent years after losing her way following her shock world title victory in 2009 in Berlin.

She finished fourth in the Rio Olympics and then grabbed the silver medal at last year's world championships in London with a personal best and new Commonwealth and Australian record of 69.64m.

The first medal of her senior career came back at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games where she won bronze.

Stevens is aiming to break the 72-metre mark as she targets World Championship and Olympic gold. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Stevens is aiming to break the 72-metre mark as she targets World Championship and Olympic gold. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

 

Stevens missed the 2010 Games in Delhi because of safety concerns but then bounced back to win the Commonwealth title in Glasgow in 2014.

She is now at the peak of her athletic career and has her sights set on a mark only a select few in women's discus have achieved - throwing 70 metres.

Since 1993, only four women have done it.

In more recent times, Cuba's Denia Cabellero threw a personal best of 70.65 metres in 2015 and Croatia's Sandra Perkovic has recorded a number of throws over 70 metres with a personal best of 71.41 metres last year.

Stevens celebrates with family in the crowd after her win. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Stevens celebrates with family in the crowd after her win. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

 

The world record of 76.8 metres is considered one of the most untouchable records in athletics. It was set by East Germany's Garbriele Reinsch in 1988.

Leading into the Gold Coast, Stevens revealed her desire to break the magical barrier.

"Everything for me is geared towards the Commonwealth Games and then we have the World Championships in 2019 in Doha and then pretty quickly after that we have Tokyo 2020," she said.

"To be honest, my ultimate lifetime goal is 72 metres. I am very excited about these next three years."



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