Finished 10th: Damien Birkenhead. Photo: Glenn HuntRio de Janeiro: Australian Damien Birkinhead says nerves may have got the better of him in the Olympic shot put final.
Birkinhead was eliminated after failing to make the top eight following three throws.
The Victorian’s best attempt of 20.45m left him outside the positions to advance to the last three throws. Birkinhead, 23, was unable to match his best effort from qualifying earlier in the day of 20.50m, and finished 10th in the 12-man final.
The US had a quinella with Ryan Crouser’s reaching an Olympic record of 22.52m to earn gold, with compatriot Joe Kovacs (21.78m) second. New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh won bronze with a best effort of 21.36m. With the crowd behind him, Brazilian Darlan Romani threw a national record of 21.02m to come fifth.
Birkinhead’s first throw was his best of the final as he fouled his second and could muster just 20.02m with his third.
He though the occasion might have played a part in his performance.
“I felt pretty confident [after the first throw]. I was really looking forward to the next two throws, and I don’t know [what happened],” Birkinhead said.
“[I was] a little bit nervous and maybe rushed a few things.
“As you can imagine. People are throwing 22 metres and 21 metres. I obviously tried to throw harder and it didn’t work out for me.”
Still the Australian thought he could take plenty from the experience.
“[It was] pretty unreal. A much bigger crowd than this morning, and much louder as a result.
“It’s exciting times.”
He will also gain confidence from making the final on his Olympic debut.
“I’ve got what it takes to hopefully get up with them in the next couple of years. I’m looking forward to the next comps.
“Hopefully I’ve got another 10 years in me.”
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