Friday, August 21, 2009

Aretha Thurmond finishes tenth

BERLIN, Germany--Renton High School and University of Washington standout Aretha Thurmond (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished tenth in the finals of the women's discus Friday night at the Olympiastadion.

After a rain delay, which pushed the competition schedule in the discus 70 minutes, Thurmond, appearing in her first final in four appearances at the world championships, threw 59.89 meters (196-6) in the second round.

The event was won in an upset by Dani Samuels of Australia who threw 65.44 meters (214-8) in round five.

Afterwards, Thurmond said to reporters in the mixed zone, " Going into the second round, I know that I had a decent throw, but I knew that it wasn't going to hold up. I thought that it would take another meter or two to guarantee a spot in the final.

"The power and the velocity of the discus was what I needed, but I just didn't get the height. In a (enclosed) stadium, you have to put up a little more height. On the last throw, I tried to time it but just quite didn't get it."

"It's tough to do everything right, but miss on one thing. That's the curse of a technical event like the discus. I wish that it was just aggression, but it's not. I need technique, poise and composure. It's passive-aggressive. The intensity was there, the excitement was there, and the energy was there."

"For me (the rain delay) wasn't the preparation I would've liked. I like taking a few warmup throws at the practice track, but instead it was going from one holding tank to another, and then it's like, 'BAM! Two practice throws at the stadium, and let's go.' If I had three more throws, who knows what the outcome might have been. "

With the withdrawal of reigning world pole vault champion Brad Walker from the qualifying round of the pole vault on Thursday, no athletes from the state of Washington will compete Saturday.

The final athlete with Washington ties remaining in the world championships is defending world champion Bernard Lagat, who is running in the finals of the men's 5000 Sunday at 4:25 pm local time (7:25 am in Seattle).

Speaking of Lagat, the 2007 double world champion did not speak to members of the media Thursday night after his 5000 meter semifinal, as he was getting treatment from the USA team medical staff on his ankle.

On Lagat's Twitter page (, he said, "We worked all day on improving range of motion on my injured ankle. It's improving really fast! I'll be ready for Sunday's 5000m final."

For more information on the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, please visit

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