Sunday, 6 December 2009

Beatrice Faumuina qualified for Commonwealth Games in New Delhi

Beatrice Faumuina has qualified for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi next year with her first foray of the season yesterday. Competing at the Battle of the Cities meeting at North Shore's Sovereign Stadium, in far from ideal conditions, the 1997 world champion was out to 56.09m, just over the performance standard for the Games of 56m.
New Zealand's Beatrice Faumuina at Delhi Commonwealth GamesFaumuina, gold medallist in the discus at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur and the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, was extremely pleased."It was my first outing in months, so I'm very happy," she said.

Instead of training over winter offshore, Faumuina and her coach Ross Dallow decided on a solid build-up in Auckland.

"We made the decision really early that it was a good idea to stay home and have a really heavy winter and I haven't even backed off that phase yet as much as I'd like to," she added.

Faumuina is ranked 44th in the world and third in the Commonwealth this year with her New Zealand title throw of 60.03m in Wellington in March.

A total of 100 women athletes in the world have thrown over 56m this year but only nine are from the Commonwealth.

Australia's Dani Samuels, who won the world title at Berlin in August, heads the Commonwealth rankings with her title-winning throw of 65.44m.

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Faumuina was fourth with a throw of 59.12m - well below her best - when she was expected to medal. At the Beijing Olympic Games she failed to make the final, finishing 28th.

Beatrice Faumuina, NZ at Delhi Commonwealth Games

She has also been a controversial figure. Her fourth at Melbourne did not go down well but it was her behaviour at Beijing that caused most upset. She became embroiled in a strange exchange with media and then agitated to go home early, rather than staying to support the team.

Dave Currie, the New Zealand team chef de mission, said she had to pay her own way home, upsetting Faumuina.

Currie said at the time all the New Zealand athletes were booked to fly home on a charter flight - as a team.

Those with post-Olympic competitions, such as professional football player Ryan Nelsen and road cyclist Julian Dean, had arranged to leave early before the games. Otherwise, athletes were meant to remain in Beijing as part of the team and travel home together, Currie said.

"People support you and you go out and support your mates," Currie said. "If Beatrice has gone, you'd have to say you're disappointed with her, but once somebody's gone, she's gone. The key right now is the team providing support for each other."


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