Olympic champion lands second world title of his career at the death thanks to championships record-breaking throw in Budapest
When Daniel Ståhl won his first world discus title in Doha four years ago, he sprinted out of the throwing circle, roaring as he went. In Budapest on Monday night (August 21), having won his second with a final throw of 71.46m to break the championship record, the Olympic champion simply walked forward, glanced at the scoreboard to confirm his victory, went down on one knee and clenched his fist.
The stoney-faced expression also soon gave way to the broadest of grins. The Swede has thrown further during career but this was, he said “my best performance ever”. It was difficult to argue.
On the world lists, there has been little to choose between Ståhl, defending champion Kristjan Čeh and European champion Mykolas Alekna. The trio were to the fore once again on the biggest stage.
It was Čeh, who still tops the 2023 distances with a throw of 71.86m in June, that seemed to be in control of proceedings. The Slovenian took a commanding lead with his opening effort of 68.31m, then 69.27m in round two but it was in round four where the competition truly burst into life.
Ståhl, whose best throw of the night up until that point had been 66.58m, moved into pole position with 69.37m and Alekna reached out to 68.85m to apply further pressure.
Čeh responded in style with 70.02m, throwing down the gauntlet to Ståhl. The latter’s response was emphatic.
“This was my best performance ever,” said the 30-year-old victor. “After I saw Kristjan throw 70.02m, I said: ‘I’m not going to give up.’ The competition was so strong. It was an amazing final and I’m really proud of the record.”