Sydney athlete Dani Samuels has won Australia's first medal in any sport at this year's World University Games in Belgrade, securing the gold medal in the discus overnight.
Twenty-one year-old Samuels, who placed ninth at the Beijing Olympics and next month will contest the world championships in Berlin, launched the discus 62.48m to take out the competition on her second throw.
In a rain soaked ring, resulting from a torrential downpour in the late afternoon, Samuels let the discus fly out to her fourth-best throw ever with 62.48m and effectively ended the competition right there.
Poland`s Zaneta Glanc (60.57m) and Ukraine`s Kateryna Karsak (60.47m) fought it out for the silver medal.
Samuels` full series was impressive with three throws over 60m (57.36m, 62.48m, 61.75m, X, 60.92m, X).
With seven throwers having personal bests over 60m this was going to be test of Samuels' competitive ability but it is in this environment that Samuels thrives.
"I love a challenge. I love being pushed," said Samuels who won the silver medal at the World University Games two years ago when she was just 19 years of age.
Dennis Knowles, Samuel’s long time coach knew it would be a tough competition.
"We really wanted to win this one but it was never going to be easy and there a couple of really good credentialed throwers in the comp," said Knowles.
"There is a thing I call the `Dani-factor` which is the difference between winning and losing. Her attitude is so good and she is in the right frame of mind. She just missed the final in Osaka in 2007 and when that happens to Dani she says to herself that it won’t happen again."
Other Australian athletes finetuning their preparations in Belgrade ahead of the world championships which commence in Berlin in just over five weeks time are Sean Wroe, Tristan Thomas, Melissa Breen, Madeleine Pape, Jody Henry and Alwyn Jones.
The athletics competition concludes on Sunday (July 12).
The World University Summer Games (WUSG) are held every two years under the banner of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
More than 8,000 athletes and officials from 50 nations are expected to compete in Belgrade.
Past Australian gold medallists have included Shirley Strickland (100m and 80m hurdles – 1955), Ralph Doubell (800m – 1967), Robert Crowther (2007 – long jump), Sean Wroe (2007 – 400m), Shaun Creighton (3000m steeple – 1991), Alison Inverarity (high jump – 1991), Jane Jamieson (heptathlon – 1995 and 2001), Emma George (pole vault -1997), Eloise Wellings (5000m – 2003) and Kylie Wheeler (heptathlon – 2003).
photos Janos Schmidt