Requiring a throw of 57 metres or a least one of the 12 best in the qualifying rounds, 20 year old Siositina Hakeai easily qualified in fourth for the final of the discus throw on Friday evening.
The three times New Zealand champion and fourth at the world junior championships in Spain in 2012 opened with 54.40m, improving to 56.27m and in the third round landed a 57.19m.
Dani Samuels of Australia, the 2009 world champion, was the leading qualifier with an opening throw of 64.53m.
Hakeai said that going into the warm ups she was calm and relaxed.
“Then I started competition and the crowd just went crazy, I never competed in front of so many people and I think I let the nerves get to me, but the main thing is I qualified and that’s all that matters tomorrow’s the day that counts and I’m just going to leave my heart out on the field,” said Hakeai.
The largest crowd Hakeai had competed in front before was at the world junior championships in Barcelona two years ago.
“But that had nothing on this tonight,” she quipped.
“I tensed up but got better and better and the main thing is I hit the automatic qualification and I can’t complain with that.
“I just pretended I was in training, as my training has been going really well and I just blocked everyone out,” she added.
Hakeai was been rooming with Valerie Adams at the games village and Adams was in the stands watching the young thrower going through her paces.
“I actually heard Val yell out during the competition. Val has been so supportive and has given me advice like just to calm down, the crowd’s going to be crazy and the crowd was crazy.
“I wanted to get the 57 metres on my first throw, but I didn’t. My second throw I kind of knew that the throw would get me to the final and my third throw I knew automatically I was there,” she added.
“If I get a PB tomorrow and don’t medal I’ll be happy.”
Hakeai’s personal best is 59.65m at the Porritt Classic meeting in Hamilton in February.
Athletics New Zealand