Josh Cinnamo celebrates after winning the shot put F46 finals on Nov. 15, 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
It might seem like shot putter Josh Cinnamo has always been dominant, having broken his own world record in August at the Parapan American Games Lima 2019 and again Friday at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to win his first world title.
But the drive and purpose to become a world champion began two years ago at the world championships in London with a disappointing finish that Cinnamo vowed to not let happen again.
“Almost exactly 850 days since I finished off of the podium in London, (I) kind of promised myself that wasn’t going to be the case again,” Cinnamo said. “Obviously, when you have a good performance like this it’s exciting.”
Good might be underselling it a bit, as Cinnamo bagged the world record with his first throw of 16.80 meters. That beat his record set at Parapan Ams of 16.49, and he was one of only two throwers Friday to hit 16 meters. Canada’s Greg Stewart took silver with a throw of 16.30, and Russia’s Nikita Prokhorov was third with 15.54. Cinnamo knew he was the hunted coming into Dubai, but that didn’t add any extra pressure.
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“The world record is something in history, you’re focused on whether you can break it again or do it again or throw further, so to break it again, that means something,” Cinnamo said. “But I won’t carry that record into next year just like I didn’t carry it into this meet.”
Next year of course includes the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, something Cinnamo has had his eye on along with his goals of world championships gold. He and his trainers changed his approach around the 2017 world championships from a glide to more of a spin delivery.
“Obviously I’m older, I’m 38, and we needed something that was going to be a little bit easier on my body and we needed some longevity out of me if we were going to switch,” Cinnamo said. “And we just kind of made the decision that if I was going to throw far, and I was going to compete in Tokyo, this is what we were going to have to do. So it’s just part of the process but it’s obviously paying off."
While becoming a Paralympian and ultimately medaling remains the goal, Cinnamo for now is going to rest up and reflect on a long but successful season.
“(This result) just tells me I’m on the right track,” Cinnamo said. “I’m not even thinking about Tokyo right now. This is the end of the longest season in history. So I’m just waiting around to get some rest, heal up, and then we’ll crank it back up.”
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.