Storl crushes opposition with season's best of 21.58
|Germany's David Storl won the shot put gold with
a season's best throw of 21.58m on Friday.
In Daegu last summer, the former world youth and world junior champion waited until the last round before producing a personal best of 21.78m which moved him up from the silver medal position and confounded the leader, Canada's Dylan Armstrong.
On this bright but chilly evening in the Finnish capital, Storl set out his store from the very first round, producing an effort of 21.19 which surpassed the season's best of 21.13 which had seen him arrive here as the highest ranked thrower.
Rutger Smith of the Netherlands was more than a metre behind on 20.25 as the first round finished, with Asmir Kolasinac of Serbia in bronze position with 20.22.
In the second round, Storl attempted to turn the screw with a giant throw which landed at a point which looked beyond 22 metres, only to have the effort invalidated for a foul. But if any of his opponents were relieved, it was a short-lived emotion as the young German extended his lead still further in the third round with a throw of 21.58. This time it did count, and all opposition was effectively counted out as he registered the second largest winning shot put margin 1.03m ever seen in these Championships.
While Storl, voted the 2011 European Athletics Rising Star, did not register another mark fouling in the fourth and fifth rounds there was relative improvement below him. Smith took silver with a third round best of 20.55, while Kolasinac improved to 20.36 to claim bronze.
Huseyiin Atici of Turkey finished just out of the medals with his second round effort of 20.24, which was matched by Marco Fortes of Portugal, who eventually finished one place below him.
"I am very satisfied with today's competition," said Storl, who finished in fifth position at the last European Championships in Barcelona. "My aim in tonight's final was to reach 21.40 metres, so it's a great result. In the end my knee got a bit weak, but I am satisfied with my competition."
Storl's celebrations in Daegu had an element of crazed surprise about them. Here there was only a deep sense of triumph as, in the wake of Germany's crushing semi-final defeat in the Euro 2012 Championships, he wrapped himself in the national flag before discarding it, and his shirt, and flexing his biceps for the cameras with a wide grin. It completed a double triumph on the night for Germany following Nadine Kleinert's earlier victory in the women's shot put.
Smith was relatively low key about his silver-medal performance. "The competition was OK," he said. "I was hoping for more and wanted to get closer to Storl. I wanted to throw 21 metres, but second place is OK."
Kolasinac, meanwhile, was thrilled with bronze. "I just can't believe what happened I am so happy," he said. "This is the most beautiful moment of my life. Because it is cold in the stadium the result is not that good. But a medal is always a medal."