Daniel Ståhl - an interesting discus talent, a view from Sweden, by Jonas Hedman


Daniel STÅHL_ASN9439.jpgDaniel Ståhl, Photo by Deca Text&Bild

Jonas Hedman is a long time writer and publisher on Swedish Athletics. He is co-author of Who's the Greatest? If you are a track fan, you need to get this book! www.worldsgreatestinathletics.com, published by our friend Jonas Hedman, who writes A View from Sweden for runblogrun.com.


Daniel Ståhl - an interesting discus talent

Daniel Ståhl, 23, from Sweden had a fine breakthrough last year when he finished fifth in the World championships i Beijing when reaching the second and third longest throws of his career so far. In the end 64.73m was just 45 cm short of a medal. Two weeks ago he opened his outdoor season with 66.74m in Salinas, California, which make him number four on the World list.

In 2015 five Swedes exceeded 60 meters and three of them 63 meters, except Daniel also Axel Härstedt, 29, and Niklas Arrhenius, 34. Axel was just 1 cm behind Daniel's 64.73m as number 27 on the World list which means it's good domestic competition and Daniel was actually only third at the Swedish championships.

Daniel is coached by Vésteinn Hafsteinsson who is the man behind Gert Kanter who took World and Olympic gold medals in 2007-2008. In other words, it's hard to find anyone better to guide you to a world class discus thrower!

Coached by Vésteinn Hafsteinsson

Hafsteinsson and his throwers spend April at the US Olympic training center in Chula Vista just outside San Diego and it was on 18 April Daniel made his season debut in Salinas. He had three throws beyond 65 meters but only the best one was officially measured. He won in 66.74 which was just 15 cm short of his two year old PB. Since Daniel exceeded 65 meters he got the Olympic qualifier.

"It was great to hit it already in the first meet! Everything has gone very well in practice this spring. Two years ago I was lighter and faster but now I'm stronger and more consistent", says Daniel who threw in good conditions with a favorable headwind and around 27 degrees.

One week later, on 24 April, Daniel proved his consistency by throwing 66.42 in La Jolla.

"It was more power in the ring compare to the first meet and despite that I had better control", says Daniel who finished second behind Jamaicas two years younger Fredrick Dacres who twice bettered his PB on his way to a new World lead of 68.02.

But Daniel had a foul which was longer.

"I couldn't quite stay in the ring on my fourth throw which was measured to 68.40. But it will come!"

Born to be a thrower

Daniel was more or less born into throwing with a Finnish mother who threw the discus and a Swedish father who was a hammer thrower. Taina, who is a Swedish citizen since more than 30 years, won the Swedish championships in 1987. Daniel's older sister Anneli was a hammer thrower and is a former student at University of Utah.

"Daniel is a great talent and has the potential to throw 70 meters", says coach Vésteinn Hafsteinsson.

He has long term goals for Daniel and believe it's in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 he can be a medal contender.

"But of course I want to perform well in the Rio Olympics too. And the European championships in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in July will be my warm up", says Daniel.

Sweden's best discus thrower of all time is Ricky Bruch (1946-2011) who set a World record, 68.40, at DN Galan in Stockholm in 1972. The same year he got the Olympic bronze medal in Münich. His Swedish record is 71.26 which make him equal number 9 on the World all-time-list. The record was set in 1984 but according to Vésteinn Daniel could be the man to erase it from the book in the future.

Daniel will compete one more time in the US before heading back to Sweden - Irvine Friday 29 April - and then start the Diamond League season in Doha on 6 May. So far Daniel is signed up for the first four Diamond League meets - Doha and Rabat in May and Rome and Birmingham in June.

Jonas Hedman

Daniel Ståhl on Instagram: @stahlhoff

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