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Five medal haul for athletics on final night in Naples and Denny feasts on discus gold.

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

The UniRoos capped off a successful Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade with a tremendous final night of athletics, winning five medals in an action-packed night of competition.

Darling Downs thrower Matthew Denny (Griffith University) nabbed the UniRoos fourth athletics gold, winning the men’s discus final with a throw of 65.27m. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist went one better than his 2015 Universiade silver, blitzing the field finishing over one and a half metres clear of silver medallist Alin-Alexandru Firfirica of Romania (63.74). 

Denny, who does much of his training in a circle on his farm in Allora, admitted there were a few things he needed to work on going into the final but a simple fix before his round five best gave him the extra impetus he needed.

“It was a good start, I was happy with how I came out, but we were just missing that little bit,” Denny admitted.

“Literally all it was is I just had to sit down for a little bit, then I got some leverage under it.”

“That was probably the biggest throw I’ve ever done in my life. Yeah it was 10cm short of my PB (65.37m) but it was two different throws. One was with wind and one was in a stadium so that’s awesome.”

“It’s funny, I didn’t think that was going to be the best throw and then it just floated, but I’m just glad I did it in a stadium with still conditions and under pressure.”

Going into the final night of athletics  with 12 medals for the UniRoos it didn’t take long to add a 13th with the women’s 4x100m relay team of Abbie Taddeo (Australian College of Physical Education), Nana Owusu-Afriyie (Deakin University), Riley Day (Griffith University) and Celeste Mucci (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) claiming silver in the first track event of the night. The team finished in a time of 43.97, bettering their heats time of 44.28 and giving them the second fastest time by an Australian team for the season, only behind the Australian team that reached the final of the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama in May. They finished behind Switzerland (43.72) and ahead of New Zealand (44.24). 

Australia was back on the podium a short time later after Georgia Griffith (Monash University) finished second in the women’s 1500m in a time of 4:09.89 behind Caterina Granz of Germany  in 4:09.14 and ahead of Courtney Hufsmith (CAN) in 4:11.81 to grab Australia’s second silver medal of the night. 

After leading the race for the majority of the final, Griffith said she did everything she could to hang on to the lead.

“It was tough,” Griffith said.

“It was a very hard last two laps, my legs got quite heavy. I really tried to kick at the end but the winner Granz was just too strong.”

The medals didn’t stop there with Australia’s fourth medal for the night coming with bronze in the women’s 4x400m relay with Genevieve Cowie (University of Sydney), Morgan Mitchell (CollArts), Jessie Stafford (University of Sydney) and Gabriella O’Grady (University of Technology Sydney) who finished in a time of 3:34.01 after a stunning final leg from O’Grady who held off Poland in the fight for a podium position.