At Youth level (U/18), Australia has produced a handful of World Youth Champions, with a few being in the field events and three, to be exact, in the throws. 2001 saw Kim Mickle win the girls Javelin Throw, followed by Ronnie Buckley winning Gold in 2003 the boys Discus and the last Champion in the throws was Dani Samuels in 2005 who, many would know, only four years later, went on to win the World Senior Title.
Eight years on from the last Title in the throws by an Australian and with World Youth Championships just over two months away, there is a young 16 year old Queenslander from Australia’s East Coast by the name of Matthew Denny who currently sits atop the world rankings in the U/18s Discus and second place in the Hammer throw rankings. The combination of Discus and Hammer can be quite rare due to the differences in technique but an athlete throwing 67m (219′ 9″) in the discus and 79m (259′ 2″) in the hammer throw is very rare.
Some may say is it really that good? It is only with the U/18 implements? However, this is where you can really start to get excited about this young Aussie lad. Only two weeks ago he sent the senior 2kg Discus out to a massive 56.91m (186′ 8″) and in the process won a cheeky bet with current world leader Julian Wruck (see pic below). In addition to this, he hurled the senior 7.26kg hammer a very impressive 62.50m (205′).
Some of these big distances are very impressive for his age as he is still 16 and doesn’t even turn 17 until June but one thing he likes to do is win. He proved this at the Australian Junior Championships, winning Gold in six events from six starts with the Discus, Hammer and Shot in the U/18 & U/20 age groups.
I’m very lucky to be good friends with Matty and he has been kind enough to share some of this season’s experiences with us and also outline just what he hopes to achieve at the upcoming World Youth Championships and his future endeavours post Donetsk.
Firstly Matty, congratulations on a great start to 2013 and for all you have achieved in the recent Australian season. You have produced some very impressive throws across the U/18, U20 and Opens categories which have caught the eye of a number of people worldwide. How pleased are you with your season to date and what are your thoughts on your 2013 campaign so far?
Matty – “Thanks, yes I am really pleased with my season so far, especially the fact that I have been throwing so well this early in the year. My coach and I have worked hard on putting together a great system for training and plan for me leading into World Youth and I feel I’m right where I was hoping to be by at this stage and I definitely feel I have still more potential for even bigger improvements by the time World Youth comes around.
My parents are so supportive of me – they have driven and flown thousands of kilometers to get me to my competitions and are always there giving me whatever I need to be comfortable in training and helping improve my training productivity and I’m really grateful to them for all they do for me. There’s no way I could have done so well if it wasn’t the support I get from both my family and my coach.”
With such a great Australian season it was no surprise that you were selected into your first Australian team for the upcoming World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine (July 10-14). You achieved qualifiers across the Discus, Hammer & the Shot but will just compete in the Discus & Hammer due to the IAAF rule allowing only 2 events per athlete. What are you hoping to achieve in Donetsk and how are things coming along in your preparation?
Matty – “Yeah, well coming into World Youth in the Top 2 for both Discus and Hammer, I am really excited and it has given me a lot of confidence that I can do well and be really competitive in my first International competition. My goal for the Championships was always to medal in one of my events but now, looking at my current ranking, I am really aiming for a top 3 finish in both events. Having said that I have to remember that it is my first International experience and anything can happen so I just have to keep on my toes, stay focused and just go over there and do my very best.”
With you still only being 16 years old and still at school you must be quite organized with your training, what would a typical week look like for you?
Matty – “My coach and I really have to organize ourselves well and make sure we have a productive session and really make effective use of the time we have. Usually a typical week for me involves weights and technique work on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, with throws on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and Friday is my rest day. These sessions usually last about two to two and a half hours each afternoon and then there’s just time for dinner and hit the books again before school again the next day.”
With Discus being your favorite of the three throws, do you look to fellow Australian Dani Samuels for inspiration and hope to achieve some similar things in your career? (WY Gold 05,WJ Gold 06, CG Bronze 06, WU Gold 09 & WC Gold 09)?
Matty – “At the moment I can’t pick between my Discus or Hammer and really won’t be looking to do this any time in the near future. Whilst I can stay at this level with both throws I will continue with both but obviously this may change down the track but it’s not something I need to think about at the moment.
Dani is my biggest idol. She really is such a nice person and a great role model for everyone. She has already competed in every major competition and medalled in almost every one of them and she is still only 24 years of age. Having said that, she is incredibly humble with it and I really hope to one day be an amazing athlete like her and perform competitively on the World stage in the senior ranks. Dani has an amazing technique and is a great technical model for any discus thrower. I’m hoping to be able to spend some time training with both Dani and Jake before I head off to World Youth and I’m hoping they can both help me out with some tips and the experience they have gained from competing in major World champ competitions and give me some idea of what to expect in my first major comp. I would love to follow in her footsteps and medal in the major competitions and one day, ultimately win the Olympics.”
In saying that and looking at your already impressive results with the senior weights what can we be expecting to see from you in 2014 and beyond?
Matty – “Well I am really aiming to compete next year at World Juniors and also would love to get a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games and compete in my first International senior competition. Obviously then I’d be looking at qualifying for the World Champs in Beijing in 2015, all leading up to my next major goal of competing in Rio at the Olympics in 2016.
Another goal of mine would be to compete in and medal, at the Olympics in two throwing events, which is something that not too many people have done. ”
Well Matty, thanks very much for speaking with us and we wish you all the best for the upcoming World Youth Champs in Donetsk and look forward to seeing some more great results from you this year.
DOB: 2 June 1996
Height: 194cm (6′ 4″)
Weight: 113.8kg (250 lbs)
Coach: Graham Pitt
Discus (1,5kg): 67.28m (220′ 8″) (Brisbane, February 2013)
Hammer (5kg): 79.26m (260′) (Sydney, January 2013)
Shot (5kg): 19.39m (63′ 7″) (Perth, March 2013)
Discus (1,75kg): 58.67m (192′ 5″) (Perth, March 2013)
Hammer (6kg): 73.29m (240′ 5″) (Perth, March 2013)
Shot (6kg): 16.92m (55′ 6″) (Perth, March 2013)
Discus (2kg): 56.91m (186′ 8″) (Sydney, April 2013)
Hammer (7.26kg): 62.50m (205′) (Sydney, April 2013)