John Salvado / AAP News
Gold Coast 2018 Games hammer throw silver medallist Matt Denny narrowly missed out on a discus medal at the Tokyo Olympics, he is not letting a training mishap stop him from his medal ambitions in Birmingham and beyond.
It takes a fair bit to scare Australian discus powerhouse Matt Denny.
But dropping a 160kg weight onto your chest would put the fear of god into just about anyone.
The training accident happened just a couple of weeks out from the national titles in Sydney, where the Queenslander claimed a convincing victory on Friday to cement his spot in the Australian team for the world championships in Oregon.
By Denny’s own admission, the winning effort of 62.79m was nothing special, even allowing for conditions that were hardly conducive to big throwing.
But given what he has endured in the past three weeks it was really quite commendable.
A couple of back injuries were bad enough.
The weight-room drama was potentially far worse.
“I was doing a 160kg eccentric bench press and something happened and it fell directly on my chest and choked me,” the 25-year-old Queenslander told AAP on Friday.
“It’s probably the scariest thing that’s ever ha ppened to me and the first time I’ve ever had a panic attack afterwards.
“I’m very fortunate I didn’t get any serious injuries and I didn’t get paralysed and that I didn’t get any crush injuries in my chest or break any ribs or get a punctured lung.
“It’s 160 kilos and it just free fell on me, so I was really lucky.
“I reckon I’ve now got eight out of nine lives left.”
Denny was one of the standout performers of the Australian team at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, finishing fourth with a personal best of 67.02m – just five centimetres short of the bronze medal.
He shapes as a genuine medal hope at the world championships in Eugene, Oregon in July and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“We’re heading overseas for four months in May and the focus is to continue our loading,” said Denny.
“We’re not aiming to peak for the Diamond League, we’re trying to peak for the major championships because that’s what matters.
“I’d rather win a world championship or a Commonwealth Games than win a Diamond League at this point of time in my life.
“We can hold a peak for two weeks – and it turns out that it’s two weeks from the world championships final to the qualifying in Birmingham.
“I’m not here to miss a medal by five centimetres again.”