Support for Allora thrower as he gears up for Olympics
OLYMPIC GAMES: The feat of Toowoomba shot putter Justin Anlezark to compete at three successive Olympic Games ensures him a lofty standing in the city's sporting annals.
For a boy from the Darling Downs to be mixing it on the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympic stages with the world's best is the sort of fairytale guaranteed to inspire the next crop of country kids.
Little did Anlezark realise one such kid would follow in his footsteps so soon.
It's now the turn of Allora's Matthew Denny to grab the Olympic baton from Anlezark and set about making his own mark in the world's most famous sporting arena as he prepares to live his own Olympic dream in Rio next month.
Denny was supported by a large home-town crowd at a function at the Allora Sports Club on Saturday which included 1984 Olympian Don Wright.
Twenty-year-old Denny seized his spot on Australia's Olympic team after improving on his national winning discus throw of 60.47m in April to a Games-qualifying 65.37m less than two months later.
"That's an outstanding coaching effort to turn a 60m thrower in March into a 65m thrower a couple of months later,” Anlezark said of his former mentor and Denny's coach Grahame Pitt.
"And it takes one hell of an athlete to step up five metres under pressure like Matty had to do to qualify for an Olympic Games.
"It's the biggest athletics event in the world and it's amazing we have been able to produce another Olympic thrower in Toowoomba.”
The London Olympics discus gold medal was won by German Robert Harting with a throw of 68.27m.
Anlezark predicted Denny would eventually eclipse that distance but in the meantime would gain priceless experience in Rio where he will be capable of making an impact on debut.
"In the hands of Pitty, Matt will continue to grow,” Anlezark said.
"I won't be surprised if he one day throws 70m.
"I'm hoping Rio is only the tip of the iceberg for him.
"I've got no doubt he's capable of winning through to the finals over there.
"He's definitely matured a lot as a thrower and person now that he is the open field.
"The main thing is Matt goes out and concentrates on being a 65m thrower and not look to throw 69 or 70m.”
Anlezark remains connected to athletics through junior development and coaching.
Matthew Denny to Rio Fund-Raising
Readers keen to support Matthew at his first Olympics can make a deposit online to Warwick Credit Union account
Acc No. 100003882
Acc Name Matthew Denny To Rio
or make a deposit at WCU branches in Palmerin St, Allora, Killarney and Inglewood.