This was one of the nicest stories from the European Cup Winter Throwing in Leiria, when Portuguese shot putter Marco Fortes took second place with 21.01m on Sunday 16 March, only his second throw above 21m in his career.
Fortes achieved the feat at his fifth attempt as he took the lead to the joy of the home crowd.
“Finally I’m satisfied to have been able to go over 21m again. I had not been able to compete at my best for some time now, but I overcame some minor injuries and feel stronger now,” Fortes said.
He was only 0.01 away from his own Portuguese record of 21.02m obtained at the 2012 edition of the event held in Bar, Montenegro.
By that point he thought to have done enough to claim the win, but it was not meant to be as Russia’s Aleksandr Lesnoy managed 21.23m in the final round, as Fortes had no more throws left to respond.
This is Fortes’ fifth time to reach the podium at the European Cup Winter Throwing, winning in 2012, second in 2008 and 2011 and third in 2010.
"I performed well thanks to the support of all this public, whom I thank for their presence," he concluded.
Another strong showing from the weekend was Germany’s Shanice Craft who at only 20 years of age showed her potential in the under-23 discus event.
She left her nearest rivals more than 10m behind with a new personal best throw of 64.16m to take gold, but maybe more importantly achieved the qualifying standards for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich this summer.
“I wanted to throw over sixty metres, and I ended up throwing three times above 62.50m, and this I cannot believe.
“I know that this year will be very hard to make the team for the European Athletics Championships, the other German women are also strong. But with this performance that I presented I think they can take me seriously,” Craft declared.
Interestingly, Craft had also been in action on Saturday 15 March in the shot put, placing second right behind Turkey’s Emel Dereli who’s also considered as one of Europe’s rising stars.