Sweden's Daniel Stahl in the discus at the IAAF World Championships (© Getty Images)
Swedish discus thrower Daniel Stahl tops this year’s world list. Here the 24-year-old looks back on the first time he hurled the 2kg discus beyond the 55-metre mark, a pivotal moment in his career.
"I used to be a keen ice hockey player in my youth, but I quit aged 15 and the following year I started training for track and field. Back then as a junior, I just wanted to have fun and I didn’t take the discus too seriously. Of course I wanted to make junior teams and to represent my country, but if everything did not go to plan, it was not the end of the world.
"I recall in 2011 competing at the European Junior Championship in Tallinn where I was among the favourites, but I no-marked. It was disappointing, but what I would stress to any youngsters coming through in the sport is: it’s not always essential to succeed with the lighter implements and you can still enjoy success as a senior athlete.
"About three weeks after the European Juniors, I competed at the Swedish Championships in Gavle with the 2kg discus. My goal was simple; to just slam it and have fun competing with the big boys. I think my best at the time was about 50 or 51 metres, so to throw 55.60m was a big moment for me.
"As soon as I released that throw, it felt good coming out of the right hand. I was amazed, I was screaming and so happy. I then celebrated by rolling around on the grass and jumping up. It became one of the top three items on the Swedish news that night.
"I enjoyed a great reaction from the crowd – everyone was clapping and cheering. In fact, I think the crowd enjoyed the American-style show so much they liked me more than the other medallists that day!
"Looking back, that victory opened up some doors to the future. It gave me the motivation to go on and train harder. Later that year is when I started working with my current coach, Vesteinn Hafsteinsson, whom I see as the world’s best coach. Vesteinn has coached the likes of 2004 Olympic shot put silver medallist Joachim Olsen and 2008 Olympic discus champion Gerd Kanter. He saw me as a huge talent and within a year of working with him I had improved my PB by more than seven-and-a-half metres."
Steve Landells for the IAAF