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Storl sets sights on Helsinki

David Storl sets sights on completing medal collection in Helsinki

David Storl

David Storl

Last year was a memorable one for German shot putter David Storl, the 2011 European Athletics Rising Star of the Year.

The highlight was, without a doubt, becoming the youngest ever gold medallist in his event at the World Championships but he was also a winner at the 2011 European Athletics U23 Championships, taking the title in the Czech city of Ostrava with a championship record of 20.45m and finishing more than a metre clear of his nearest rival.

Now he wants to add to his burgeoning gold medal collection – he now has five victories in global or continental championships – by also winning at the 2012 European Athletics Championships, which will be held in Helsinki between 27 June and 1 July.

“A gold medal from the European Athletics Championships is one of the things that I’m missing from major international outdoor competitions and so I’ll be especially motivated to do as well as I can in Helsinki,” said the heavy-metal loving police academy student who hails from Chemnitz.

“I finished fifth in Barcelona two years ago and, at the time, it was a fair result for me. Unlike in Daegu at the World Championships, I didn’t set a personal best there, but I was close enough to it and I would have had to improve by quite a lot to get a medal.

“Now things have changed everybody knows who I am and my own expectations are higher and I will be disappointed if I don’t get on the podium.

“But I’m not going to say that I’ll win, I don’t want to put that pressure on myself, and there are a lot of other good European throwers who will be wanting to do well; I’m sure Andrey Mikhnevich (from Belarus) will want to defend his title and he will not let it go easily.

“Having won at the European Athletics Junior Championships and European Athletics U23 Championships, I would now like to get the hat-trick of titles across all the age groups, just like I have done at world championships,” added Storl.

If he can triumph in the Finnish capital, in addition to the gold medal and prestige, Storl will achieve the unique feat of becoming the first man to have won at all age-levels in world and European competitions. The only woman to have done it is the Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva.

In recent weeks, he has shown that all is going well with his preparations and he has been regularly throwing over 21 metres this winter.

Remembering that Mikhnevich won in Barcelona with 21.01m, coming out on top after a tense and thrilling competition in which only eight centimetres covered the three medallists, Storl has every right to feel quietly confident that he can go into the history books and he will still be only 21, not celebrating his 22nd birthday until 27 July.

Even the prodigious Isinbayeva didn’t complete her set of six titles until she was 24, the 2006 European crown being the last to come into her possession.

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