Firstly, I must thank all the people back in New Zealand for supporting me. The messages of support in the lead-up to the competition were just amazing. I must also thank my coach Kirsten, my Husband Bertrand and our families for their support and encouragement. I also think of my Mum and Dad who couldn’t be here to share in my achievements…
I know they will be very proud of me. There are so many people to thank for their help and support as my athletics career grows and grows, so it’s difficult to list everyone.
The World Champs – Competition
The Shot Put qualifying was on Sunday morning (26th August). My plan was to get my first throw out past the automatic qualifying mark for the final (18.35m). I did this easily with a throw of 19.45m.
As I have said in previous journals, my training this year has gone really well, especially after the rehab from my injury. The final is a whole different story, so I couldn’t take any chances. I was happy with my first few throws (19.89, 19.74, 19.80) but Ostapchuk (the defending World champion from 2005) still had a narrow lead.
I knew that I still had a big throw in me. Kirsten, my coach yelled out to “do it for your Dad”. That really spurred me on and I dedicated that last throw to him. Everything went right and I set a new Personal Best of 20.54m (which is also a New Zealand and Oceania record).
This put me into the lead but Ostapchuk still had a last opportunity to regain the lead. She put in another huge effort and it was a nervous wait while they measured her throw. When her result came up and I was the winner it was just an awesome moment!
Ever since then things have been a whirlwind… the medal ceremony, all the interviews, all the attention…. Yesterday I went with some of the Local Organising Committee VIPs and planted a tree – a ceremony that all the gold medal winners in Osaka will take part in.
There has been a lot of talk about Beijing already. I still have some other competitions in Europe this year, including the IAAF World Athletics Final to focus on. After that there will be a huge amount of training to be done over the next 12 months if I am to be successful in Beijing.
I am under no illusions that my rivals will leave Osaka determined to improve their placings at the Olympics. Getting to the mountaintop is great and very rewarding, but staying at the summit is just as important, and takes more effort as all your competitors want your spot.
World Championships – the Lead-up
The New Zealand team training camp in Cairns was good. The weather turned out to be not as hot as we hoped for simulating conditions in Osaka, but the humidity still proved to be difficult. It was still a lot warmer than back home in New Zealand !
I had really good sessions in Cairns, and two pleasing competitions as part of the Melanesian Championships that were held in Cairns at the time. From Cairns the team flew to Osaka. It was much hotter in Osaka than Cairns and very humid and sticky.
We stayed in a hotel in Osaka and there were a number of other countries staying there too. Unfortunately, it took 45mins to get from the hotel to the training track, but I had experienced this at other major competitions so it didn’t bother me.
The Japanese Organisers have been very helpful and organized everything without any hitches.
I am leaving Osaka to head to Europe for a couple of competitions and the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart on 22-23 September. So it will be a little while before I get back to New Zealand for some rest and relaxation, before getting stuck into training for Beijng.
Thanks again for all the support!!!
Until next time