Crouser hails ' performance of his life '. The shot put great overcomes recent health scare to defend world championships title.

Budapest : Shot put legend Ryan Crouser labelled the successful defence of his world title as '' the best performance of his life '' given at one point he was unsure he would even be able to get to Budapest due to blood clots in a calf.

The 30-year-old American showed little sign of the health scare as he dominated Saturday's final from the outset and twice broke the championship record.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe had pinpointed the men's shot as the event to savour and Crouser did not let him down, signing off with a stunning 23.51 meters effort, five centimetres off his world record.

Crouser, who comes from a family of throwers, said the run-in to the worlds had been '' the most stressful 20 days I've ever had''.

'' The week before I was supposed to leave I woke up with a calf pain and we thought I had a partial tear in my calf.

'' We treated it like that but after 10 days of no improvement we had a doctor look at it and he said you have two blood clots.''

The two time Olympic champion said that he then faced a race against time to be cleared to fly.

''My training camp was scraped so I had to find a way to get here,'' he said.

''Luckily I had a great medical team working with me and they got me safe to fly.

'' So it felt like a relief just to get here, even though I didn't have proper training and preparation.''

Crouser, who in the 2016 Rio Games broke Ulf Timmerman's 28-year-old  record, said his final throw would rank alongside his world record as the throw of his life.

'' After all that it was the best performance of my life, given the health issues, the stress and all of it,'' he said.

'' It wasn't quite a world record but to me it was.''

However, despite his hold over the event, his great rival two time world champion Joe Kovacs, who had to make do with bronze, insisted that he was beatable.

'' Is Ryan playing in a different league? No, I don't think so.'' said the 34-year-old American.

''Today you could see already in the warmup that he would throw the pot outside the stadium.

Kovacs based his belief he could wrest the Olympic title from Crouser in Paris next year on having a smoother domestic run-in even though he admits he is ''getting old''.

'' We had two babies so I had no sleep for a long time,'' he said.

'' There was nothing about this year that was perfect for training, but we've learned a lot.

'' Next year I'll focus on Paris and will try to get the Olympic gold medal there. I have to sleep a lit bit more, the babies are keeping me up.''

Kovacs said he would have loved to have taken gold in the land of his grandfather.

'' Everyone asks if I know any Hungarian words but the only thing I know is ' egeszsegedre ', which means 'cheers' for the beers, '' he said.

'' This is the most important word and I'm going to need it a few times tonight because I will have a few beers tonight. [AFP]


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