AUSTRALIAN discus champion Benn Harradine has promised a night of surprises this evening when he throws before a hometown crowd at the Hunter Track Classic in Newcastle.
Harradine, 29, who has already thrown a qualifying distance for the London Olympics, will add some spice to the event when he takes on former world women’s champion Dani Samuels in a special challenge.
Harradine, who has thrown in the past wearing a tuxedo, said he had another unusual suit to wear for the competition.
He has also promised the crowd, who will be allowed to stand on the field behind the cage, that he will give out pieces of cake for every metre he throws.
“I don’t take myself too seriously,” said Harradine who grew up in Newcastle but is now based at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
“Last year I wore a tuxedo and I threw my season’s best.
“I plan to wear a special outfit at the Classic but I can’t reveal any more about it. My results in crazy suits have been fairly good to date.” The Samuels versus Harradine discus competition, and other planned entertainment for the evening, is Harradine’s way of trying to generate more popular interest in discus, a competition that is rarely as crowd pleasing as fast-paced track events.
While he has won the Australian title four times and is the 2010 Commonwealth Games champion, Harradine does not have the sponsorship enjoyed by other more high-profile athletes in the country.
“I am trying to have a bit of hype around the Classic and represent to the crowd that they can enjoy the discus as a spectator sport,” Harradine said.
“If this means I have to beat Dani, then so be it. If I lose I will do a lap of the track, if I win I might hold her up above my shoulders.”
Samuels will get a slight edge in the contest: she will throw a 1kg discus, Harradine’s will weigh 2kg.
Harradine won the Commonwealth Games title in Delhi in 2010 with a throw of 65.45m and came fifth in the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, with a throw of 64.77m.
While this was the best ranking performance of any Australian male discus thrower in a world championship, Harradine says it was a performance affected by injury, a torn quadricep tendon.
Harradine says he has only just resumed training this year after his long period of injury last year.
“I am not expecting too many great things (today),” he said. “I am enjoying myself and trying to create a bit of excitement around the event.”
Harradine says he told fans on Twitter he would give out pieces of cake for every metre he throws. “One of my friends, who is a 400m hurdler, has promised to make the cake for me,” he said.
This should mean at least 63 pieces of cake for the crowd. “I’m not sure whether it will be a carrot cake or a pavlova,” he added.
Harradine, who will be happy with a throw over 60m, plans to compete in the domestic season, including the national championships in Melbourne in April, before going to Europe for further preparations for the London Olympics in July.
Source: The Australian