Stevens ready to defend title on home soil
One of Australia’s warmest favourites for gold at the Commonwealth Games, Dani Stevens, recently reflected on her great career, the future and of course the Games this week.
“I feel really fantastic,” declared Stevens. “I’m turning 30 this year so people label me as a veteran as this will be my third Commonwealth Games this year. However, I feel like I’m just getting warmed up, which is quite funny to say.”
Stevens has won global titles at all levels - world youth, world juniors and world championships, making her international debut aged 15-years at the world youth championships in 2003. She has gone on to represent at six world championships and three Olympics.
“I have had a lot of experience and there have been highs and lows in my career and I feel like that experience will help me going into Commonwealth Games. I’m really looking forward to having a home crowd and using the crowd to my benefit.”
But does that bring added expectation?
“I guess from the public’s perspective there could be pressure on me going in as the defending champion and on the back of a silver medal at the world championships last year and being in personal best shape, but to me I just concentrate on what I have to do in the circle, focusing on the processes is what always works for me and not about the distance or placing, so I will be going in there and focusing on what I can do to produce the most power in that two metres of concrete.”
Stevens can not only manage that pressure but uses it to spur her onto better performances.
“So, I have got to the point where I love competing under pressure and I feel like I thrived on that last year and a little bit the year before, coming fourth (in Rio). But I’m really looking forward to it, embracing the pressure and taking it on my shoulders actually.”
In addition to the whole of Australia backing her, there will be a small group of close supporters.
“I have about 50 family and friends who have tickets for these games which make them quite unique because I haven’t had that before. We have been all over the world. I had a lot of friends and family in Melbourne in 2006 and I was able to rise to the occasion there and produce a PB and place third so hopefully, it works out that way this time.”