Tausaga Shocks Field with Stunning Discus Throw Win at World Athletics Championships
USA’s Laulauga Tausaga delivered a lifetime best effort in a stunning display, clinching victory in the women’s Discus Throw on the fourth day of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.
The showdown was expected to be a two-way battle between Olympic champion Valarie Allman of the United States and world champion Feng Bin of China, and it certainly lived up to expectations – at least in the first four rounds.
However, Tausaga, who had faced a challenging season with just two wins in 12 appearances, her farthest being the 65.46m lifetime best set at the US Trials where she finished second to Allman.
In Budapest, Allman and Bin engaged in a back-and-forth exchange, swapping the lead at various stages of the contest. Up until the fourth throw, Tausaga wasn’t considered a contender for the top position.
With two fouls in her first and fourth attempts, followed by a second-round throw of 52.28m, Tausaga found herself at the bottom of the rankings.
Allman’s distances were 68.57m and 69.23m on her first and third attempts, while Bin’s best was 67.41m up to the fourth round.
Tausaga unleashed a knockout blow on her fifth attempt, recording a throw of 69.49m, stunning both the field and the world. Allman settled for second with a fourth-round mark of 69.23m, and Bin secured third with 68.20m, her season’s best.
Tausaga’s comment revealed her own shock at the outcome: “I don’t know if I have a fairy godmother or something, or if my ancestors had some say in it, but I was able to do something tonight that I didn’t think was possible yet,” she said.
“It’s unbelievable to go from 12th to first. No one was expecting me, and I just showed up. I was desperate, very scared because I couldn’t be 12th again. I just said to myself, ‘You need to let it out, and if it fouls, then so be it,'” Tausaga added.
In the highly competitive men’s high jump, USA’s J’uVaughn Harrison settled for second place despite clearing a world-leading height of 2.36m. Harrison had one miss at 2.36m, while event winner Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy cleared it on his first attempt. Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar walked away with the bronze after clearing 2.33m.
In the men’s 400m, the NACAC area will be represented by five athletes: Jamaicans Antonio Watson, the leader at 44.13 PB, Sean Bailey at 44.94, American Vernon Norwood at 44.26, Quincy Hall at 44.43, and Grenadian Kirani James at 44.58.
The women’s 400m hurdles final will feature Americans Shamier Little at 52.81 and Anna Cockrell at 53.63, along with Jamaicans Rushell Clayton at 53.30 PB, Janieve Russell at 53.69, and Andrenette Knight at 53.72, competing against Femke Bol at 52.95.
American Kendra Harrison ran a world-leading 12.24 in the women’s 100m hurdles, while Bahamian Devynne Charlton set a new national record of 12.44.
BY ANTHONY FOSTER FOR THE NACAC ATHLETICS