Fabbri eyes history at Roma 2024

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  • Fabbri eyes history at Roma 2024

Italian shot put giant Leonardo Fabbri has issued a rallying call for home supporters ahead the Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships on 7-12 June, where he is targeting gold and a European record.

“Trust me, it will be amazing,” promised World silver medallist Fabbri who has opened his season superbly, including a brilliant 22.95m in Savona, Italy last week (15), putting him fifth on the all-time list.

“You cannot miss the European Athletics Championships in Rome - such a strong athletics team in Italy has never been seen."

Sizzling form

Fabbri won bronze at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March, adding to the silver her took at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest last year. 

And he has maintained his sizzling form into the outdoor season this month, opening with a personal best 22.88m in Modena, adding 7cm in Savona, underscored with 22.59m in Lucca on Sunday (19).  

His 22.95m throw made Fabbri the second European shot putter of all time behind the German Ulf Timmermann (23.06 in 1988). It also took him beyond Italian athletics legend 1984 Olympic champion Alessandro Andrei (22.91 in 1987), also born in Florence like Fabbri.

"Overcoming Andrei for me is like a dream coming true. I started to compete in shot put when I was 12 years old,” said Fabbri, who will compete on Thursday (23) at the Grifone Meeting in Asti to continue his preparation to Roma 2024. 

“Many people have always made comparisons between me and Andrei, with the performances he did as a child, with those he did as an adult, and I have always tried to match him. 

“In many things I have succeeded, and I am proud of that because for me he is like a divinity. There is still one medal separating us, let's see if in two months at the Olympics Games in Paris I can get close to him. 

“I have thrown more than him, but Alessandro Andrei will forever remain in the history of Italian sport for what he has done'.

On his improvement in the last year, Fabbri reveals: “I finally found continuity and lost several kilos, I no longer have the physical problems I had two years ago and now I can train every day.” 

"Can't wait"

His immediate priority for this summer is the Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships, in a stadium that holds vivid memories. 

"The first time I competed at the Olympic Stadium was at the 2019 Golden Gala meeting,” he recalls. “I did really badly. But my international career started from there. I still laugh when I think about the athlete I was in 2019. I did 19 metres, I had little experience and I was very nervous. 

“But it's important to make mistakes. I've learnt a lot from that and I can't wait to come back to Rome on 8 June to prove to myself that I've done a good work in these five years.”

No Italian athlete has ever won the shot put in the 90 year span of the European Athletics Championships and Fabbri, along with training partner and European Indoor champion Zane Weir are ready to make history.

Record goal

But Fabbri also has an eye on the continental record. "The 11cm that separate me from the European record is another goal,” he says. “I already wanted to take the indoor record and unfortunately, I missed it by 18cm. Rome would be a wonderful opportunity to do so but I try never to think too much about it. I just go there, throw and have fun.”

The men’s shot put qualification takes place on Friday 7 June and the final on Saturday 8 June.

Chris Broadbent for European Athletics

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