Stahl breaks Swedish discus record with a throw for the ages

Daniel Stahl at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
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Daniel Stahl moved to ninth on the world all-time discus lists with 71.29m in Sollentuna

It was an evening Daniel Stahl had been dreaming about for several seasons and this time it came true.

With a perfect twist and release, Stahl, 24, wrote his way into Swedish athletics history at the Folksam Grand Prix in Sollentuna on Thursday when he broke the national discus record which had stood since 1984.

Not only did his sensational throw of 71.29m spark one of the celebrations of the season, it also rocketed him to the position as the world number one with the London 2017 IAAF World Championships just five weeks away.

His amazing effort on this gloriously sunny evening moved him to ninth on the world all-time list, and eighth on the European list, as he replaced the national record of 71.26m held by Ricky Bruch for 33 years.

As the implement landed, Stahl knew it was something special even before the distance was shown, raising his right arm, running down the infield, jumping in the air and then diving on the grass in delight.

"It feels wonderful, a legendary day at Sollentuna,” Stahl told local media as he celebrated in style at this European Athletics Outdoor Classic meeting.

"I have had two goals this summer: throw over 70 metres and then take a medal at the World Championships, preferably gold.”

Not since Poland’s world and European champion Piotr Malachowski threw 71.84m in Hengelo in 2013, to move to fifth on the all-time list, has anyone recorded a distance as far as Stahl, who left Poland’s 2015 world championships bronze medallist Robert Urbanek a distant second with 66.73m.

One target achieved, he is now in prime position for the second, after finishing fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

It looked like it was going to be a special competition for him from the start as he broke his personal best of 68.72m in the first round as he reached a distance of 68.88m, equalling the world lead of Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres.

After a foul, Stahl then went over the 70-metre barrier for the first time in a career where he has been close to honours.

He was fourth at the European U23 Championships in Tampere in 2013, fifth at the world championships in Beijing two years ago and then fifth again last summer at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam, although he failed to make the final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Now, after a supremely consistent season in which he has thrown over 68 metres in six competitions, he finds himself at the top of the tree with just a handful of events before the world championships start.