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Silver for Stevens with new Aussie discus record

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Dani Stevens has smashed the longstanding Australian women’s discus record to claim world championships silver in London.

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It has been a long time coming.

Eight years ago, the then 21-year-old Dani Samuels claimed a shock world championships discus victory in Berlin – making her the youngest female throwing winner in the history of the world titles.

It was a tough act to follow.

But Stevens kept plugging away and was rewarded at the London Olympic Stadium, early this morning Australian time.

Already in the silver-medal position behind Croatian powerhouse Sandra Perkovic, Stevens unleashed a massive final-round throw of 69.64m – almost two metres more than her previous personal best.

Even more significantly, it was 92cm better than the Australian record set by Daniela Costian in 1994.

Two-time Olympic champ Perkovic won the gold medal with a throw of 70.31m.

The bronze went to Melina Robert-Michon of France with 66.21m.

But the only thrower seriously challenging Perkovic was Stevens – who had an epiphany after finishing a frustrating fourth in the Rio Olympics last year.

“I always had faith in my potential and the direction we’ve been heading,” Stevens said.

“Rio was a really big motivator.

“I’ve known we’ve been on the right track.

“It’s just about being able to unleash one in a pressure situation.

“I knew I could and I felt like I was building with each throw.”

Stevens refused to get distracted by what Perkovic was doing in the final, preferring to focus on herself.

“I have always said I would be able to throw 70 metres and my lifetime goal is within reach and to win a medal again is fantastic,” she said.

“It’s amazing to be up on the dais again.

“I got to that last one and I completely relaxed and unleashed and had that one thing I needed to focus on to give me the height to get that extra distance.”

-AAP

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