Three and a half years ago, Julia Ritter first took a shot in her hand. This year, the U18 athlete can make hopes for a medal at the U18 World Championships. It would be the provisional culmination of an unusual success story that began with Father Reiner and a Youtube study David Storl’s technique shown on YouTube.
Sunday, May 10, 13 clock. A cheer echoed through the Helmut-Schön-Sportpark in Wiesbaden. Inside the athletics stadium jumping a young lady from the shot put ring and runs happily to the spectator benches in order to collect congratulations by her coaches. The audience is enthusiastic. 18.29m with the three-kilo ball – that’s world class.
To illustrate a few numbers: in 2015 only one U18 athlete worldwide has tossed the 3kg ball further than Julia. Also in 2014 only one shot putter of that age group achieved to go beyond that mark. Since the conversion of the four on the three-kilo ball in the U18 age group in 2012 no German athlete was better. In 2013 this mark would be the bronze medal at the U18 World Championships and silver at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Only the German U18 national record continues to exist. Ilke Wyludda came in 1986 even with the four-kilo ball 19.08m – this distance has to be exceeded for an entry in the record books with the lighter ball. Nevertheless: A 18m toss of a German U18 athlete with the three-kilo imeplement was never been listed in any top list until Julia Ritter entered the ring last Sunday.
Handball in youth league
The development of Julia Ritter is incredible. Until the end of 2011, Julia was exclusively playing handball and until two months ago still played in the youth league. Playing around with a medicine ball in sport class and the experiences in athletics of her younger sister Emily, finally brough Julia to try as well with the shot.
It started an unusual way with her father and coach Reiner Ritter. “We have looked at youtube videos of David Storl” she says, laughing. “Papa was once a footballer. From athletics he had no idea. “Together they developed the shot put technique. Dynamics and strength were provided by Julia Ritter’s handball career.
The young athlete, who will celebrate her 17th birthday on Wednesday, yet exactly reminiscent of her first competition. “It was 15 January 2012,” she says. “I qualified for the westphalian championships.” During my third competition I won the Westphalia title.
Support by the national coach
After that it continued to improve. The year 2012 ended Julia Ritter with 13.75m in the U16 German top ten. 2013 was she the best German U16 athlete with 15.80m. 2014, Julia further improved by almost 2m: 17.63m meant in Germany third behind Anika Nehls and Alina Kenzel. Anika Nehls became third at the Youth Olympic Games and Alina Kenzel participated at the U20 World Championships.
“I’ve been training really hard,” eyplains Julia Ritter her performance development. Nine training sessions per week, one each day during the week and two sessions on weekends. Always at her side is her father. “We do everything together,” says the 17-year-old. Sure sometimes we argue but: “We are a great team!”
Meanwhile, the team also has the support of experienced trainers. Julia Ritter works with junior national coach Miroslav Jasinski in Wattenscheid together as well as with women’s national coach Klaus Schneider, with whom she has completed more training sessions in Kienbaum before competing in Wiesbaden. Even Father Reiner is in a lively exchange with the experts and benefit from their advice: “He has learned a lot,” his daughter says appreciatively.
Dream of Cali
In 2015, the young athlete can fulfil her first major sport dream by taking part in the U18 World Championships in Cali (Colombia, July 15 to 19). The standard of 16.00m, is already been achieved long time ago. So Julia’s fans could already book the trip. Mother, father, sister, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle: Everyone will be there when the putter is fighting on 16 July at a medal.
Maybe she will come even for a second time in action in Colombia. Even in the discus Julia Ritter has the qualification standard for Cali in her pocket. There, too, her good physical conditions help Julia a lot but under pressure the technique is not as stable as for the shot put event. “This is a mind game,” she says and adds, laughing: “For discus one needs technique, pure strength does not help alone.”
Cheerful and optimistic
The strong competition in the shot put does not worry the medal candidate. She is a cheerful person, always wearing a smile and exudes optimism. Strong opponents motivate Julia and the ball goes further automatically. “I have learned positive thinking in handball,” she says, “because I have always demonstrated nerves of steel at the seven-meter throw.”
Nevertheless, Julia Ritter reluctantly had to say goodbye to the handball team. Shot Put Training, High school in the coming year – there was no spare time for another hobby that is also known for injuries. “But Daddy said that I might be allowed to play after the athletics season a couple of games,” said Julia Ritter. Maybe she can present her teammates then indeed a World Championship medal.
Source: leichtathletik.de by Silke Morrissey