By Owen Morgan
Aled Davies described his fourth consecutive World Championships shot put gold medal as his most difficult yet and immediately paid tribute to his fiancée and newborn daughter for inspiring him to victory.
Davies had to fight every step of the way to retain his title as Luxembourg’s Tom Habscheid threw a personal best of 15.10m to lead the Welshman going into the fourth round at the World Para-Athletics Championships in Dubai.
But the Cardiff AC athlete, who has been struggling for form this season and went into the competition ranked third, dug deep to produce the F63 competition-winning distance of 15.38m with his fourth attempt and never looked back.
Describing what it felt like to win his seventh career world title in discus and shot put, Davies simply said: “Surreal!”
“This was the toughest one yet,” added the 28-year-old. “Me and my coach (Ryan Spencer-Jones), we knew things haven’t been clicking, they haven’t been coming together and this was the hardest competition of my life.
“There’s been so many things that have happened, and we just wanted to come here and do my best. All Ryan wanted me to do was come here and fight for it.
“Tom put on one heck of a show. He came out and broke a world record and personal best so he really took it to me and it was definitely very tough and I was lucky to hang on by a thread in the end!
“It’s not really how I like to control competitions but, hey, I’m here and I’m number one and that’s all that matters.
“I didn’t connect with any of my throws, they were all off my palm. Technically it kind of went out the window so I know I’ll probably get crucified by Ryan when I speak to him.
“I had to fight and that’s all it was to be honest – it’s gaining confidence.”
Holding seven-week old daughter Phoebe in his arms, he thanked her and his fiancée for helping to providing fresh motivation to come through after a difficult year.
Davies said: “I needed this more than anything and obviously I’ve got my beautiful daughter and fiancée to thank for everything and they were here to see me do it so I’m just so happy.
“It’s the only motivation you need. I don’t do this for me now – I’ve achieved everything I’ve wanted to achieve.
“Golds at every tournament and world records, so if I can keep on dominating as long as possible and show that beautiful little girl how it is done then that’s great.”
On the fourth consecutive shot put title, Davies said: “Fourth time – it’s very special – I think back to my first world champs in New Zealand in 2011 and I got 4th place at the age of 18, and now here we are, almost ten years later and we’re still on top of the world taking world records and winning gold medals.
“I’ve been dreaming too hard and too long to roll over and hand over titles. I had to fight for this one – I really did I dug deep and luckily I hung on by the skin of my teeth!
“What a long year, I can’t believe I am heading home from the summer athletics championships and going to pick up a Christmas tree!”