ZAt the end of the year, Julian Weber allowed himself some home leave with family and girlfriend. The javelin thrower at USC Mainz has been familiar with celebrations in a very limited way since the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he finished fourth. A performance that at most die-hard Julian Weber experts such as his first trainer Stephan Kallenberg had given him credit for, but which was considered a surprise for the public – and deserved a big party. Including a beer or two to wash down the initial disappointment that only 14 centimeters separated it from bronze.
A lot should change in the new year. When Weber talks about his goals for the season and mentions participation in the European and World Cup, it is not just about being there. After finishing ninth at the games in Rio de Janeiro, sixth at the 2019 World Cup in Doha and just missing out on the podium in Tokyo, he wants to qualify as a successful one. “I’m slowly getting impatient,” he says, “I want to win a medal now.” With the missing 14 centimeters on August 7, Weber apparently made his peace.
Immediately after the competition he was annoyed about it, “but in retrospect I can say that everything went very well for me – even if I would of course have liked to have finished third”. If you look closely, there was even more to it, if you consider that gold favorite Johannes Vetter couldn’t cope with the bumblingly laid run-up track and did not survive the preliminary battle. And when Weber says his own first attempt may have been the best of his career.
Lots of physical setbacks
The fact that it wasn’t the farthest was also due to the railway. Technically, Weber had done everything right, but with the larger stem he slipped away a little and so the spear landed at 85.30 meters. The Indian Neeraj Chopra was Olympic champion with 87.58. Nevertheless, Weber looks to the year 2021 with satisfaction. No other German athlete has suffered so many physical setbacks in recent years and came back as strongly from his injury breaks as Weber. A tendon transplant in the limb, a herniated disc, three operations on the already chronically painful left foot lie behind him.
When he was about to start the fight for an Olympic ticket in the spring after a 19-month break in competition, a positive corona result, which should turn out to be false, cost him participation in the European Cup. His stand-up qualities, however, brought him his first German championship title after three second places. And the fact that he threw 87.03 meters one month after the Olympic final in Zurich made the athlete particularly happy, the one who changed a second time after an interlude with women’s national coach Mark Frank in the autumn of last year.
Since then he has been training in Potsdam under Burkhard Looks in a group with his buddy Bernhard Seifert, who gave him the starting place at the World Cup in 2019 due to lack of form. “We haven’t completely redesigned the training, but we’re doing a little more, and it’s also rather old school,” says Weber. Which does not mean renouncing modern training methods, but rather the high expectations of the coach for the discipline of his athletes. “It was initially a change for me, but I pulled it off.” The scope will remain high for the new season, but because Weber is doing the fitness units in Berlin, he has reduced the effort for the trips to Potsdam and back.
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