Daniel Stahl put together one of the greatest series in the discus ever seen en route to winning at the IAAF Diamond League in Doha with 70.56m on Friday.
The Swede unleashed his massive throw – a meeting and Diamond League record – in the third round to record the best throw in the world for more than two years, in fact since his national record of 71.29m in June 2017.
However, it was the sheer consistency of his throwing that drew gasps of admiration from fans and his rivals alike.
None of his six throws was less than 69.50m and three flew over 70 metres.
The sense that it was going to be an evening to remember came with his very first throw, measured at 69.63m. He then improved to 70.49m and 70.56m with his next two throws before continuing to pepper 70 metres with his remaining three attempts.
“I had great power and I have been working on my technique a lot and training hard in the gym, so I expected it and I am really happy,” reflected Stahl.
“Training has been going very well so tonight was no surprise at all. It was a great atmosphere and I hope to return here for the IAAF World Championships and win again. The big focus though is always to have fun and big power.”
Big Night for Daniel Stahl, who wins the Men's Discus with an incredible 70.56m throw. A new DL #record. The #Swedes are definitely proud, we're sure! #DiamondLeague #DLDoha #DohaDL pic.twitter.com/0WpTNEShDV
— Doha Diamond League (@dldoha) May 3, 2019
After silver medals at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 and last summer at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships, all eyes will be on Stahl to see whether he can go one better on his return to the Khalifa Stadium at the end of the season for this year’s world championships.
Austria's Berlin 2018 bronze medallist Lukas Weisshaidinger was second with 66.90m.
Dina Asher-Smith, the 2018 European Athlete of the Year, was almost as impressive as Stahl in her own opening outing of the year.
The British sprinter blazed around the turn in the 200m and held her form all the way to the line, putting four metres between herself and a world-class field to win in a world-leading 22.26.
“It was my fist outdoor race of the season so I did’t know what to expect, so I’m super-happy with that time. I don’t think I’ve ever opened that fast before,” said the delighted Briton.
“However, I ran a good race technically and this is a beautiful arena, It was nice to test out the arena and the track before the IAAF World Championships. Tonight, I didn't expect to win in that way against such an accomplished field so it's a good sign, but the season is only just beginning,” added Asher-Smith.
— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 3, 2019
The Netherlands’ Jamile Samuel had a strong finish, moving from fourth to second over the final 50 metres, before crossing the line as the best of the rest behind Asher-Smith in 22.90.
Turkey’s reigning world and European 200m champion Ramil Guliyev sped to victory over his favourite distance in 19.99, like Asher-Smith faster than he has ever opened his season before.
He was swiftly away from the gun but still lay second coming off the bend to Canada’s Aaron Brown on his inside but Guliyev went through the gears down the home straight to take an impressive victory.
“I came here with the aim to run under 20 seconds, my coach said I have to do it, so I think I did a good job,” said the smiling Turk.
“Now I have to come back here in October and run as well. I know it’s going to be a long season, but I hope to just keep running faster” he added, alluding to the forthcoming world championships.
"I was so surprised that I won because I am the youngest competitor. It is my first time here and I would love to come back for @IAAFDoha2019 but I cannot get carried away." - Yaroslava Mahuchikh
— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 3, 2019
Ukrainian teenage prodigy Yaroslava Mahuchikh cleared 1.96m to, at the age of 17, become the youngest ever woman to win an IAAF Diamond League event and equal the world age-17 best.
Four women were still in the competition at 1.94m with Bulgaria’s two-time European Athletics Championships silver medallist Mirela Demireva opting to pass that height.
Mahuchikh – who had needed three attempts earlier at 1.88m – slithered over on the bar on her second attempt, rattling it with touches from her hamstring and calf, while Sweden’s Erika Kinsey and Croatia’s Ana Simic both brought the bar down three times.
Both Demireva and Mahuchikh failed their first attempts at 1.96m but then the young Ukrainian had a magnificent clearance with her second effort, an outdoor best following on from equalling the world U18 indoor best with 1.99m this winter, and she was able to watch her rival bring the bar down two more times before having three unsuccessful jumps at 2.00m.
Maryna Bekh-Romachuk almost made it two Ukrainian winners at the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting of the year but her fifth-round jump of 6.74m ultimately left her two centimetres shy of the winner, Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen.