Matthew Stopel makes podium finish at Discus and Hammer Nationals
Over the weekend 27-29 March, I competed at the 93rd Australian Open Athletics Championships in the Discus and Hammer throw. After overcoming an injury last season, I have had to modify my training to reduce the stress that occurs from throwing too often. I have had a heavy focus on becoming stronger this season, and have even included competing in Powerlifting, where I won the GPC State Championships in February.
I went into Nationals with lots of confidence with my improved strength and no signs of my previous injury. I competed in the Hammer Throw on Friday, and I was fortunate enough to walk away with a PB of 60.71m, breaking a PB that was nearly 5 years old and placing 4th Australian was a great start.
On Saturday I competed in discus, which is the event I put most focus on in my training. I was feeling in good physical shape before the event and confident I could throw well. In the 3rd round of the competition, I threw my best throw of 57.55m, less than half a metre from my PB (58.01m). While I did not throw a PB, it was good to throw consistently well over all six throws and place 3rd for my first national medal in the Open age group. Both the competitors who placed 1st and 2nd are great friends of mine, Julian Wruck, who placed 1st has thrown the 2nd longest distance in Australian history at 68.16m and, Matthew Denny, who placed 2nd, was the 2013 World Youth Champion. Both these competitors are from Queensland and it is great to compete with the best throwers in Australia on a regular basis.
The National Championships marked the end of the athletics season and I will now shift my focus to improving my strength and power to compete at the GPC National Championships for Powerlifting in late May. In the near future, I hope to throw over 60m and qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio.
Photography courtesy of Inside Athletics at http://www.insideathletics.com.au/