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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 Stuttgart, 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
VfL Sindelfingen: Germany
Name of coach
Marion Peters [national]; Peter Salzer [club], from 2014

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)
Football. (, 10 Sep 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Athlete, 17 Jul 2017)
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)
He had a hip and knee problem prior to the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, Germany. (, 04 Jun 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Perfect action brings perfect results." (Athlete, 04 Apr 2011)
Awards and honours
In 2016 he received the Silver Laurel Leaf in recognition of his performance at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (, 29 Dec 2016)

He was presented with the Para Athlete of the Year Award in 2016 and 2017 by the National Paralympic Committee of Germany. (, 26 Nov 2017;, 29 Nov 2016)

He was named the Athlete of the Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012 by the TSF Welzheim club in Germany. (, 2013;, 26 Mar 2012;, 21 Mar 2011)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 23 Nov 2018)
Other information
He thought about quitting the sport in 2014, but after a change of coach he was inspired to continue, and went on to compete at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "I stopped training and told the national coach that [2014] would be my last junior championships. My coach said, 'No, you can't [stop]'. Then I started with another coach in Stuttgart and my first training sessions were so great, we changed the technique and I saw I could do it, [and] maybe I could try to get to Rio [2016 Paralympic Games]. I had a new beginning in training." (, 10 Dec 2018)

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