Commonwealth Games: Gold Coast prep ramping up for Dani Stevens
GOLD medal discus thrower Dani Stevens is living in Gladesville as she prepares to defend her Commonwealth Games title in April.
Ms Stevens (nee Samuels) became the youngest world champion in the sport in 2009, aged 21, and has been Australia’s top female discus thrower since.
She won gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, and is keen to add another to her career highlights.
One of the biggest changes to Stevens’ life in recent years has been marriage.
She married her partner Joe, a former shot putter turned orthopedic surgeon, in 2016.
They moved to Gladesville last year for his work, while Stevens continues to train at Olympic Park and Greystanes.
“I really like it,” she said of the suburb.
“It’s a really good spot, only 10km from the city and it’s quite close to Homebush.
“And the water is right there too.”
Stevens will be the favourite on the Gold Coast.
Her best throw is 69.64m, and expects her main rival to be England’s Jade Lally, who has thrown 65.1m.
After a fourth-place finish at the Rio Olympics in 2016, the 29-year-old will again try to claim Commonwealth gold and build confidence.
That was the case with her previous Commonwealth gold performance.
“It was a really important win for me,” she said.
“I’d had a couple of years where I was disappointed with my performance at London in 2012.
“So Glasgow was a really good event and it got my confidence kickstarted again.
“I had a really good year with several PBs (personal bests).
“So the Commonwealth Games are really important and it’s awesome to have it on the Gold Coast.”
The long-term goal is winning Olympic gold at what could be her final Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
“I’m excited. It’s a really important time in my career,” Stevens said.
“My technique is better, I’m more powerful and I threw a PB last year and I’m hoping to improve up to the Olympics.”
The Stevens are unlikely to call Gladesville home for much longer.
They plan to move to the Gold Coast after the Games for Joe’s work.