East County Sports

Matador Tausaga stuns at World Championships

Lagi Tausaga-Collins, a Mount Miguel High grad, won the gold medal in the Discus at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday.


From staff and wire reports


BUDAPEST – Laulauga Tausaga-Collins, a Mount Miguel High grad, stunned track and field fans worldwide on Tuesday with her improbable victory in the Discus Throw at the World Athletics Championships.

Tausaga, of Spring Valley, beat her all-time best throw by more than four meters and achieved the second farthest throw ever by an American female. She is the first American woman to ever win the gold medal at the world championships.

Another American athlete, Valerie Allman, the event favorite, won the silver medal.

Before the event, oddsmakers had listed Tausaga at 130-to-1 to win the final.

“I was able to do something tonight that I didn’t think was possible yet,” Tausaga told reporters after the event (video highlights).

Tausaga won with a fifth-round throw of 69.49 meters (228 feet). Her third-round throw went 65.56 meters (215 feet 1 inch) to qualify her for a final three tosses, which she would need. Her first four rounds included two fouls and a throw of 52 meters.

“That was one of the best series of my life, considering I had two fouls and I was able to make it up,” said Tausaga, 25. “I’m just glad to say that I mentally got over that hump. I’m just proud, very, very proud. I had such a rough beginning to my season and I didn’t think I was gonna be able to come out of it,”

Tausaga barely qualified for her second-ever trip to the world championships. She needed her last throw at the U.S. Championships to make it to Budapest. Her other appearance at this event in Qatar back in 2019 resulted in three fouls on three attempts.

Tausaga was born on Oahu, and moved to San Diego when she was 7.

Tausaga after setting the section record in the shot put in 2015.

After first trying volleyball and basketball at Mount Miguel, the admitted bookworm won CIF championships in the discus twice (’14, ’16) and also won three section titles in the shot put (’14-’16). She is the section record holder in both events.

Choosing to attend the University of Iowa after originally committing to Miami (Fla.) without ever actually seeing the campus in person, she went on to win five Big Ten discus championships (four outdoor, one indoor).

Tausaga won an NCAA championship with the Hawkeyes in the discus back in 2019.

Next for Tausaga will be the 2024 Olympics in Paris where her new-found confidence, along with her bold make-or-break mentality, has made her a sure favorite to win a medal in the event.

Tausaga is coached by John Dagata at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.

“I’m just so thankful for my mother (Aveaomalo), all the way to the coach I have now and everyone who has supported me through everything.”


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