Samuels set for shot put in Glasgow
13 March 2014
ATHLETICS: Discus champion Dani Samuels has announced she will also contest shot put at the Commonwealth Games, the first time she has done so at a major event since 2006.
Samuels will start as gold medal discus favourite for Glasgow and sent an ominous warning last week at the NSW Athletics Championships when she threw 65.59m.
It was the second best throw of her career and the distance is five metres better than her nearest Commonwealth rival.
However, the 25-year-old knows there's a lot of water to pass under the bridge and hopes adding the shot put to her schedule will help alleviate some of the pressure she has struggled to shoulder in the past.
New Zealand Olympic gold medalist Valerie Adams is the athlete to beat in the shot put, which will provide Samuels an avenue to relax in Glasgow.
"I want to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal and this time around I'm in good enough shape to do that," Samuels told AAP.
"I still want to go for shot put and see what I can do there. Having that second event hopefully will take a bit of pressure off as well because it's something that's there for variety and fun.
"I'm not expected to beat Valerie Adams in that at all, so I'm just looking forward to a really fun year."
Samuels hasn't contested shot put at a major international event since the 2006 Commonwealth Games and World Junior Championships, but is eyeing off an early match-up with Adams at next week's Melbourne World Challenge.
The 2009 discus world champion didn't respond well when she came back to defend her crown in 2011. And she also failed to live up to expectations at the London Olympics when she finished outside the top eight.
The spotlight is sure to shine on Samuels again come August, particularly given her decision to pull out of the Delhi Comm Games in 2010 due to safety concerns.
Samuels believes she's learnt from past experiences and her improved upper-body strength has her growing in confidence.
"I've had some very high highs and quite low lows," she said.
"I'm just really fired up this year. I want to reach my potential, enjoy throwing and throw a long way consistently."
Samuels is looking for another big throw at the Sydney Track Classic this Saturday night at Sydney Olympic Park, and hopes to challenge the PB of 65.84 she set at the event back in 2010.
"The goal for this season is to be consistent at 64m plus in every competition and I hope to replicate something like that this weekend," she said.