M. Alekna, who is already measuring the status of a discus throwing star, shone brightest in Europe at the Munich Olympic Stadium – the place where his father Virgilijus Alekna won the silver of the European Championship exactly 20 years ago – his youngest son Mykolas won the gold.
The 19-year-old Lithuanian in his penultimate, fifth attempt made not only the stadium gasp, but also the Slovenian world champion Kristjan Čeh, when he threw the discus 69.78 m and set a new European Championship record.
Even his father, two-time Olympic and world champion V. Alekna, never threw the discus that far at the European Championships.
The silver medal went to K. Čeh (68.28), and the bronze was unexpectedly taken by British athlete Lawrence Okoye (67.14).
“I really did not expect that everything would turn out like this this year. I didn’t expect both the world championship medal and the European gold. Anyway, my goal was to get to the planet championships and throw 66 meters. And everything turned out somehow differently”, said the European champion M. Alekna after returning to Lithuania.
After spending a couple of days at home, he will already pack his training clothes and fly to the United States, where he will begin his studies at the University of Berkeley and train and participate in the NCAA track and field competition.
“After your three attempts, you were glowing with peace.” When it came to throwing the remaining three shots, you did so calmly and confidently. Where did that Olympic peace come from? M. Alekna was asked.
– I tried to make all the shots well, but during the first three the excitement clearly got in the way. By the fifth throw, I both concentrated and relaxed – I wanted to enjoy the competition, not fight. A good result was achieved. And when I threw the sixth attempt, I already knew that I had won, so I couldn’t concentrate at all. Both joy and emotions came.
– How does it feel to climb the top step of the podium and hear the national anthem for the first time in an adult competition?
– A unique feeling. Now I’m already waiting for next year’s starts to repeat the same thing somewhere.
– When you already threw the disc on the fifth attempt, while it was still flying, did you feel that it was flying far?
– It felt like a good shot. I didn’t know how far the disc would fly. But when I saw that the tool landed at the 70 meter mark, I was happy.
– Were there still doubts about the first place then?
– Of course, because K. Čech had two attempts left. After all, he is consistently throwing 70-71 meters this season. I really knew he could do it, but he didn’t make it this time and was lucky to stay in first place.
– You and your father have decided to organize an auction – you will sell the exclusive CD given to your father by President Dalia Grybauskaitė after the 2012 London Olympics, and you will transfer the money to warring Ukraine. What message are you conveying to the public?
– We want to sell a disc with both of our signatures and transfer the collected funds to Ukraine – it really needs help.
– How important are such actions?
– They remind us that we cannot accept the war – so much is written and talked about it that maybe those feelings have faded. But it shouldn’t be – you need to sacrifice and sacrifice. Ukraine needs help. The auction will be held until the Independence Day of Ukraine.