Home athlete Niko Kappel played a big part in helping to promote the World Para Athletics European Championships that got underway in Berlin tonight, but he had to settle for the silver medal in the men’s shot put F41 final as his great rival, Poland’s Bartosz Tyszkowski, beat his own world record in earning gold.
Ahead of competition world and Paralympic champion Kappel, one of the main featured athletes in a widely shared clip publicising the overall event at the Friedrich Ludwig Jahnsportpark, had commented: "I hope I can win the competition, but Bartosz is a very good shot putter and I don’t know what he can throw at the moment, so it will be close."
As things turned out, Tyszkowski was able to throw 14.04 metres, two centimetres farther than the world record his German opponent set in June at the Leverkusen meeting as he became the first man to beat 14 metres.
Kappel had to settle for silver with 12.60m as his rival collected a third successive European title.
The Tyszkowski effort was one of five world records in the opening session, with his compatriot Lucyna Kornobys contributing a second with her victory in the women’s shot put F33 final in a massive 7.49m, almost two metres clear of her nearest rival.
Another women’s field event produced the first world record of these Championships as Ukraine’s Iana Lebiedieva won the women’s discus throw F53 final with 14.93m, and Dutch athlete Marlene van Gansewinkel won the women’s 100m T64 final in world record of 12.85sec.
The final world record of the evening came from Serbia’s Nebojsa Duric, who won the men’s discus throw F56 with 39.84m.
Elsewhere, Great Britain’s Hollie Arnold secured her second major title of the year, having won javelin F46 gold at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast back in April.
In Berlin, Arnold produced an F46 Championship record of 40.15m, before commenting: "I am so happy to have all the titles now.
"It’s incredible to think I am Paralympic champion, world champion, world record holder and now European champion.
"I wasn’t expecting the Europeans to be in because my event is not normally in so this is a bonus.
"This is just a stepping stone ready for next year and Tokyo ."
Her team-mate Harri Jenkins also took a significant step towards the Tokyo 2020 he won the men’s 100m T33 final in 19.44.
"Everything I am doing is pushing towards Tokyo," he said.
"This season has been a bit on/off for me, I have changed a bit of my set-up - I have changed my chair, I have changed a few things around me - it’s coming through now and now I am European champion so it couldn’t be better."
The first gold medal to be decided on the track was the men’s 1500m T11, with Poland’s world bronze medallist Aleksander Kossakowski living up to his billing as favourite by winning in 4min 22.45sec.
He won the bronze medal two years ago in Grosseto, despite losing a shoe during the race when a competitor stepped on his foot.
Kossakowski is not the quickest this season however - that position belongs to Turkey’s Hasan Hüseyin Kaçar, winner of the European silver medal last time.
But the Turk was disqualified, along with Portugal’s Nuno Alves.
Switzerland’s hugely experienced Marcel Hug, the London 2017 world champion, was an expected winner of the men’s 5,000m T54 wheelchair race, clocking 11:44.92.
His compatriot Manuela Schaer, a four-time gold medallist at the 2014 European Championships, won the women’s version in a Championship record of 12:24.47.
Latvia’s Dmitrijs Silovs won the men’s javelin throw F38 in a European record of 51.54m, and Gerrard Descarrega Puigdevall of Spain claimed the men’s long jump T11 final in a Championship record of 6.37m.