Discus champion Mohamed Ibrahim Moaaz at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (© Getty Images)
In his very first throw of the competition, Mohamed Ibrahim Moaaz of Qatar effectively ended the men’s discus final as a contest, unleashing a whopping throw of 63.63m to take command of the lead, a position he never relinquished.
Despite fouling his remaining three attempts, that proved good enough for gold, giving him victory over Poland’s Oskar Stachnik and Belarus’s Hleb Zhuk.
“I can’t even describe the feeling right now,” said Moaaz, who is now turning his attention to success at senior level. “Next year I will surprise you.”
Though Moaaz only ranked as an outsider for the title on Sunday afternoon, there were signs the Qatari 17-year-old could cause an upset. He had conquered the best throwers on his continent at the Asian Junior Championships in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, last month, throwing a best of 60.49m, and in Bydgoszcz he duly conquered the world.
In qualifying on Saturday, he added more than half a metre to his PB when throwing 62.79m. As he entered the throwing circle for his first attempt during Sunday’s final, however, few of his rivals could have expected what was to come as he sent the discus spinning high, sailing well past the 60-metre line to the gasps of the crowd.
The distance, 63.63m, added almost a metre to his best, but more importantly gave him complete control of the competition.
Many had expected world U20 leader Clemens Prufer of Germany to assume that position from the outset, but he struggled from the start, fouling his first attempt and throwing just 55.98m on his second try, more than 10 metres down on his best. His third effort was better, a throw of 59.10m enough to put him into sixth position and give himself one more shot, but Prufer fouled his final attempt and was disconsolate afterwards with his failure to reach the podium.
Shot put champion Konrad Bukowiecki was next into the throwing circle in the final round, but his foul did nothing to improve his best effort of 59.71m, which left him in fifth place. Sweden’s Wictor Petersson’s fourth and final effort of 59.55m left him in fourth place, his opening attempt of 61.23m being his best of the day.
That just left the three medal men to decide which step of the podium they would ascend to later on Saturday. Hleb Zhuk of Belarus fouled his final throw, leaving him with the bronze medal after a best effort of 61.70m.
Poland’s Oskar Stachnik had loomed as the principle threat to Moaaz heading into the final round after a throw of 62.83m in the third round moved him up to second, but he was unable to better that on his last attempt, the discus hitting the ground 61.34m away to hand the Qatari gold.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF