Germany’s charismatic thrower Niko Kappel only stepped up to senior international competition in 2015 – but within two years he was a Paralympic and world champion.
Kappel, who competes in the F41 class for athletes of short stature, won shot put silver on his World Championship debut at Doha 2015 with a personal best of 12.85m.
Less than a year later he had improved on that mark significantly, throwing 13.57m to take his first Paralympic title in Rio de Janeiro.
It was a nail-biting competition, with Kappel sitting in second place for four of his six attempts. In the end just one centimetre separated the German from Poland’s Bartosz Tyskowski, who had beaten Kappel to the world title in 2015.
Kappel received Germany’s national Silberne Lorbeerblatt award (Silver Laurel Leaf) in recognition of his performance at the Games; he was also presented with the 2016 Para Athlete of the Year Award by the National Paralympic Committee of Germany.
At the London 2017 World Championships Kappel clinched his first world title with a new best of 13.81m.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
He was affected by an injury to his meniscus [knee] in 2018 and 2019. (Athlete, 21 Aug 2021)
He received the Silver Laurel Leaf in recognition of his performance at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (swr.de, 29 Dec 2016)
In 2010, 2011, and 2012 he was named Athlete of the Year by the TSF Welzheim club in Germany. (tsfwelzheim.de, 2013; wbrs-online.net, 26 Mar 2012; zvw.de, 21 Mar 2011)
In October 2020, after four years competing for the VfL Sindelfingen club, he moved to VfB Stuttgart in Germany. "As a track and field athlete I can now wear the jersey. And enjoy it. But as a young footballer and VfB fan, I have always dreamed of competing for VfB Stuttgart and now I have fulfilled my childhood dream in another sport." (swr.de, 22 Oct 2020; bbheute.de, 22 Oct 2020)
He has served as a member of the municipal council of Welzheim, Germany. (zvw.de, 29 Jul 2017)
|Men's Shot Put F41||Final 1||2015-10-24||2|
|Men's Javelin F41||Final 1||2015-10-28||8|
|Men's Shot Put F41||Final Round||2016-09-08||1|
|Men's Shot Put F41||Final 1||2017-07-20||1|