Crawley and Horsham discus star Jade Lally is flying off to the Rio Olympics on Tuesday brimming with confidence after finishing in a dream third place at the London Anniversary Games.
The showpiece event held at the London Olympic Stadium on Friday night and Saturday was part of the Diamond League series contested by many of the best athletes in the world.
She produced the goods with her very first throw, getting a fantastic distance of 61.65m, despite not having enjoyed the best of warm-ups.
This was the best placing ever by a British thrower in a Diamond League match.
Lally was thrilled to do so well in front of a 50,000-strong home crowd, the first time she has experienced such a good atmosphere.
She said: “I’m really happy because I didn’t get a go four years ago. It was nice the support the crowd gave to every GB athlete.
“It gave me a taste for it as I clapped the crowd and they clapped back during my last throw.”
Despite several hours of coverage of the games, BBC TV did not show any of Lally’s six throws, although did broadcast just the winning throw by the Croatian Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic, who won with 69.94m which was further than the 69.11 she threw to win the gold medal in 2012. The coverage focussed on the track events, but did also include the long jump featuring Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
Lally, 29, complained: “The BBC did a poor showing for the throws, especially as a Brit did well and they didn’t even show it!”
Lally did not improve on her first round throw but it was good enough to beat some of her rivals expected to reach the Olympic final, German Nadine Muller, who was fourth, USA stars Whitney Ashley (fifth) and Anna Jelmini (ninth) and Portuguese rival Irina Rodrigues (sixth).
She now travels with the 80-strong GB athletics squad, which includes five throwers, to the holding camp at Belo Horizonte in Brazil.
Lally will stay there for two weeks before going on to compete at Rio de Janeiro, which starts on August 5.
She said: “After this result I will be going there in good form and mentally that’s put me in a good place.”
Her colleagues at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre, where she works as a personal fitness trainer, have been giving her messages of support.
She added: “Everyone has been superb and I would like to thank my coach, Andy Neal and everyone who’s part of my support team, my manager, clients and work friends.”
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