Freshly minted European indoor shot put gold medallist Zane Weir has delayed celebrating his success in Istanbul as he hones in on this weekend’s European Throwing Cup in Leiria, Portugal on 11-12 March.
Speaking at the official press conference on Friday (10), the Italian said: “I’ve remained pretty focussed on this competition, I take it very seriously. I’ve delayed [celebrating] a little bit, but I am sure Sunday evening will hopefully be an opportunity to celebrate both competitions.”
Last weekend he set a national record on his way to winning gold with 22.06m. This same competition last year also saw Weir in record-setting form with a championship best of 21.99m, so he is looking for another rewarding weekend.
“This competition is a celebration of all of the hard work we have done to this point. It’s been a difficult period. I came back from a finger injury last year. So, this season has been tough, but very rewarding.
“It was a great atmosphere at my first competition here last year. So, we are going to have some fun and I’m looking forward to the atmosphere the competition provides.”
He also believes the move back outdoors could unlock a little more distance before he closes his winter season.
“There is a slight difference between the (shot put) circles of outdoor and indoor. But I actually prefer the outdoor circles, so I am really looking forward to being out there on Sunday.
“There’s a lot more grip. You can be a lot more confident in the movement, you don’t have to hold back a little bit and I think that definitely favours the distance of throws.”
Tzengko tempering expectations ahead of her international debut
In contrast to the busy indoor schedule faced by Weir, Greek javelin star Elina Tzengko is tentatively stepping back into competition in the midst of intense training. She enjoyed a phenomenal 2022, when she became the youngest ever winner of a European javelin title last year aged 19.
Now 20, expectation has risen on her and European silver medallist Adriana Vilagoš of Serbia, who is still only 19. Sitting alongside Weir, Tzengko was keen not to place too much emphasis on the result this weekend between the two rising stars.
She said: “I think for us, for the javelin throwers, it is really early yet. If I win tomorrow, it doesn’t mean anything for Adriana. If Adriana wins tomorrow, it doesn’t mean anything to me. We have a lot of months yet in training. We have really important competitions in the summer, so we have to be ready for the summer competitions.
“For me and my coach, this competition is part of training. I know we are not yet ready for a 65 metre throw. Our training programme is still really heavy – a lot of throws and a lot of weights. We just came here to fix some technical issues we have and to feel again the competition atmosphere. So, I can’t wait to throw tomorrow.
“In Greece, we have a saying that is: ‘health is above all’. So, I want for this year to be healthy, to enjoy my training and competitions without injuries and that’s enough. In my first competition of the year, I threw 61 metres in Greece so a 61 metres throw again would be a great performance for me, for now.”
The European Throwing Cup will be live streamed (Senior A events and selected other events) with English-language commentary on the European Athletics YouTube channel from 1.05pm local time (CET -1)
Chris Broadbent for European Athletics