Young Australian discus thrower Matthew Denny has won a surprise silver medal at the World University Games in South Korea.
A medal will also go the the Australian women’s water polo team after they play for gold against Canada on Monday night, having defeated Russia 10-7 in the semi-final on Saturday.
Denny, a Griffith University business student, was the youngest athlete in the discus final and launched a lifetime best of 62.58 metes in round four to clinch his first medal in senior international competition.
In a slippery circle and constant rain, a change of shoes for the 19-year-old to a pair with more grip resulted in an opening round throw near his lifetime best of 62.11 metres to sit in second place after two rounds.
Shuffled back to third, the 2013 world youth champion stepped up for his fourth attempt to launch the platter into second place, behind that of Belgian Phillip Milanov who took the gold with 64.15.
Denny’s throw set a new Australian under-20 record.
“As soon as it started pouring rain I knew I had the upper hand because I know I can throw well in the rain no matter what … I changed my shoes and got more grip,” Denny said.
In the water polo Sydney’s Fiona Walsh strung together a treble of goals to help the Uniroos defeat Russia 10-7 and reach their first final at the games in Gwangju.
Russia took advantage of Australia early in the game as they raced to an early 3-0 lead.
But Australia bounced back after tactical changes made by coach Eddie Denis at quarter time.
“We had a strong second quarter after Eddie changed our approach to their in-between defence, which brought us back into the game,” Walsh said.
Australia sits 14th on the overall medal tally at the games with 18 medals – three gold, three silver and twelve bronze medals, with two days of competition remaining.