There is nothing like succeeding in front of your own fans and Poland’s Konrad Bukowiecki did just that at the Bydgoszcz 2017 European Athletics U23 Championships in July.
With another performance that has come to typify his domination of the shot put at age-group competitions, Bukowiecki won gold by breaking a championship record in the final that he himself had achieved only 24 hours earlier in qualifying.
From 21.26m in reaching the final to 21.44m and then a sensational 21.59m on his way to the gold medal, he also improved his outdoor lifetime best by eight centimetres.
As he celebrated victory by nearly two metres from his nearest rival, he reflected modestly: “I was just trying to do my best.”
His best was something truly exceptional. Such has been Bukowiecki ’s rise through the ranks, he had already acquired one major title in 2017 when he won gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in March with a European indoor U23 record of 21.97m.
Amazing, he achieved that accolade as a teenager some two weeks before he turned 20 to become the youngest ever European indoor medallist in the event, not just winner.
In Bydgoszcz, it was gold again as he had the competition won from the moment he unleashed the 7.26kg implement with his opening effort out to 21.44m.
He held both hands out wide and the gold medal might as well have been given to him there and then. He had smashed the record from the day before by 18 centimetres but his exploits were far from over and he reached out to 21.59m in the sixth round.