By Luke Pentony from ABC Sports
Olympic discus finalist Benn Harradine says improved consistency with his throws is the key focus for the 2013 season.
Harradine finished ninth in the London final last August with a best effort of 63.59 metres, just one spot away from earning the three extra throws that are afforded to the top eight.
His appearance in the final came during a season in which he set a new national record of 67.53m in Townsville in May, a distance that would have won him silver in London.
Harradine is proud of his Olympic performance but feels if he is to contend for medals at the major championships he needs to be consistently throwing in the range of his national mark.
The importance of consistency was illustrated by Germany’s Olympic champion Robert Harting, who posted throws between 68m and his world leading 70.66m on seven occasions last year.
He also produced four throws in the 67-68m range among his six attempts in the London final.
Harradine is confident he can challenge for a medal at August’s world championships in Moscow if he can be consistent with the distances he throws.
He has already shown he belongs in the top echelon of throwers, having finished fifth at the 2011 world titles in Daegu.
“It (2012) was a really big step forward for me with my distances in terms of my personal best,” Harradine told Grandstand.
“However, my consistency was something that wasn’t as good as it has been or could be and I think if I’m going to mix it with the top end or the top four in the world I need to be up around the 67, 68-metre [range] more consistently than I have been.”
Harradine, who turned 30 last October, used the off-season to undergo surgery to correct a niggling knee complaint that had plagued him during the year.
He wore a knee brace during competition and admits he often covered the effect of the injury by relying more on his back and hips during his throwing motion in the circle.
Harradine discovered through his rehabilitation program he had been “hiding a few weaknesses” relating to his leg strength, which is so pivotal in the discus event.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games champion concedes it was initially frustrating to be starting from behind scratch with his off-season preparations while going through the rehabilitation process.
But he knows the surgery was necessary to make sure he is still competing when the Rio de Janeiro Olympics are held in 2016.
“If I’m thinking of long-term this needed to be done now, I couldn’t afford to nurse niggles all the way onto Rio and the Commonwealth Games and the world champs,” Harradine said.
“Although it was difficult at the beginning, I’m really happy with where I sit at the moment and I don’t think it is going to take me long to get back up to some quality throwing, that’s for sure.”
Harradine is hopeful of soon being able to incorporate some throws into his training program and is targeting a competitive return at the Shanghai Diamond League meet on May 18.