Richter hopes to reel in the competition ahead of Espoo and Budapest

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  • Richter hopes to reel in the competition ahead of Espoo and Budapest

Between training, Steven Richter is never more content than with a fishing rod in hand, scouring the sea for his latest catch. But it’s in the discus circle where he is already starting to reel in some of the big fish of the event.

Still only 19, he had a significant breakthrough at the European Throwing Cup in Leiria, Portugal, winning the U23 competition with a new personal best of 64.23m. It was a mark that would also have been good enough for second place in the senior men’s competition behind only the Slovenian world champion Kristjan Ceh’s world-leading 68.30m. 

As a European U20 finalist in both the shot put and discus in 2021 when he was still only 18, Richter has already demonstrated his rich potential across the disciplines. But his discus performance in Leiria proved his continued development and was an improvement of more than three metres on his best from last year with the senior implement (61.13m).

He was thrilled with the progress: “In training I have thrown this distance a few times, so I am very happy that I threw this in a competition also.”

Steven Richter

Eyes on Espoo and beyond

Now guided by Sven Lang, coach to twice world and three-time European shot put gold medallist David Storl, he is based at the Chemnitz University of Technology where he is studying economics.  

His main priority for 2023 is the European Athletics U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland, on July 13-16, but he also has a cautious eye on the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. 

When asked of his targets this year, he said: “The European Athletics U23 Championships and maybe get close to the norm for the men’s World Championships and maybe qualify?” 

The domestic standard in Germany is remarkable, with world U20 gold and silver medallists Marius Karges and Mika Sosna also vying for honours at U23 level and beyond, this year. Sosna has already extended his personal best to 65.57m this winter, before a disappointing 58.88m in Leiria, which placed him 11th. 

Richter concurs, he said: “We have very good throwers in Germany and so I am a little bit higher on the ladder now of the German throwing team.”

A sharpening focus on the discus

As a child, Richter was a keen footballer, before concentrating on athletics. He said: “In my younger years I played football, but I wasn’t good enough to make it further. I played goalkeeper. After that, I joined the sports school in Germany doing athletics and then I joined throwing.”

And with his focus now tightening on the discus, his improvement is accelerating.    

“In the last three years I was doing a lot of shot put, but this year we have switched and are doing more discus,” he said. “I was doing discus and shot put at the same time, maybe shot put a little more. But the discus is a little bit better now, so we decided to switch to discus throw.”

To relax away from the intensity of throws training, he enjoys the contrasting tranquillity of fishing. “When I have time, I go to the Baltic Sea and in training camps, after the training, I like to fish a little bit.  

“I fish for catfish or eels. I caught an 80cm eel once. It was a very strong fish, but we got it!” And with a similar approach in the discus circle, he is hoping to net more success and not let the big ones get away in 2023.

Chris Broadbent for European Athletics

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