Nicholls still all smiles despite missing out on Berlin victory

Yahoo Sport UK

Victory didn’t come his way on World Para Athletics European Championship debut but the smile still couldn’t be wiped from Taz Nicholls’ face in Berlin.

The Barnet athlete was competing on the European stage for the first time, with the F64 discus dominating his attentions in the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark.

In truth he never looked like threatening a place on the podium, 42.02 his best effort as he finished in fifth place behind British teammate and five-time European champion Dan Greaves.

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Not that anyone could tell from Nicholls’ facial expressions throughout, buzzing to be part of an event that has very quickly felt like home.

“I’ve loved it here. Considering it’s my first one I expected to be more nervous,” he said.

“First one down, now on to the next one. I’m back to training now and I’ll work hard to try and get those numbers that I didn’t get today.

“It’s totally Jekyll and Hyde for me. Normally I’m out there and a total nervous wreck, but we’ve been working a lot on trying to be relaxed, and I think for the first few I was a little too relaxed.

“I came here with no expectations, didn’t set myself a number, I just wanted to learn as much as possible.”

The taste of one major competition has Nicholls – who never expected to be selected for Berlin – yearning for more, with hopes of going to next year’s World Championships in Dubai.

Should all go well then a place at the Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020 could be his, though he remains keen to keep his feet on the ground for the time being.

With three-time world champion Greaves in his corner he certainly has a lot of support behind him, an asset he knows could be crucial.

“It’s hard not to pick up tips, so it’s been a really good learning curve and I’m just looking forward to the next one now,” added Nicholls, who had his tibia and fibula snapped when looking to make a career in football.

“It wasn’t the best performance in the world, but what a learning experience – unbelievable.

“The series wasn’t great at all. I was trying to be really relaxed, but I just don’t think I had enough behind it in the end. I was trying to focus on being relaxed, and not actually relax and then hit it.”

British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.

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