Niko Kappel of Germany celebrates victory in the Men's Shot Put F41 Final at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.

Niko Kappel


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.


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Short stature
Origin of Impairment
T41, F41

Further personal information

Partner Luisa Holzwarth
Welzheim, GER
German, English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up the sport in 2008 in Welzheim, Germany.
Why this sport?
He was inspired by German Para athlete Mathias Mester, who won a silver medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. "I tried a lot of different sports and found that athletics is what I like the most."
Club / Team
VfB Stuttgart: Germany
Name of coach
Peter Salzer; Damien Zaid

International debut

Competing for

General interest

Bonsai ["Like the plant, because I am a small man and have so much strength for a small man"]. (, 29 Dec 2016)
Politics. (Athlete, 21 Aug 2021)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the F41 shot put at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Athlete, 21 Aug 2021)
Most influential person in career
His parents, and coach Peter Salzer. (Athlete, 17 Jul 2017)
Hero / Idol
German Para shot putter Matthias Mester. (Athlete, 17 Jul 2017)
In 2021 he tore a tendon in his back and was out of action for six weeks. (Athlete, 21 Aug 2021)

He was affected by an injury to his meniscus [knee] in 2018 and 2019. (Athlete, 21 Aug 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Perfect action brings perfect results." (Athlete, 04 Apr 2011)
Awards and honours
In 2016 and 2017 he was presented with the Para Athlete of the Year Award by the National Paralympic Committee of Germany. (, 26 Nov 2017;, 29 Nov 2016)

He received the Silver Laurel Leaf in recognition of his performance at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (, 29 Dec 2016)

In 2010, 2011, and 2012 he was named Athlete of the Year by the TSF Welzheim club in Germany. (, 2013;, 26 Mar 2012;, 21 Mar 2011)
To win a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 22 Oct 2020)
He is a person of short stature. (Athlete, 17 Jul 2017)
Other information
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." (, 22 Oct 2020;, 22 Oct 2020)

He has served as a member of the municipal council of Welzheim, Germany. (, 29 Jul 2017)


Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Shot Put F41 Final 1 2015-10-24 2
Men's Javelin F41 Final 1 2015-10-28 8
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Shot Put F41 Final Round 2016-09-08 1
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Shot Put F41 Final 1 2017-07-20 1