Even with the last chance, Julian Weber’s javelin didn’t fly far enough through the evening sky of Budapest – with the first medalless World Championships, German athletics reached a low point.

Finishing fourth again, the European champion was no longer able to prevent the worst case scenario. Weber then shook his head in disappointment.

“I don’t know exactly what was going on today. I put everything in and gave everything. He didn’t want to fly any further,” Weber said a little at a loss on ZDF. “I would have loved to have gotten the medal and I know I could have done it. I’m sorry and very upset. I tried to do my best but somehow it didn’t work.”

Association President Kessing speaks of the “worst case”

However, the 28-year-old was under extreme pressure at the end of the nine-day competition. Since the start of the World Championships 40 years ago, Germany has not appeared in the medal table. After only two medals last year in Eugene – also due to a few failures – the international crash continued.

A year after his fourth place in the USA, Weber threw the javelin at 85.79 meters on his best attempt. Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra (88.17) from India, Arshad Nadeem from Pakistan (87.82) and the Czech Olympic silver medalist Jakub Vadlejch (86.67) continued to throw.

Just hours earlier, the German association president, Jürgen Kessing, had spoken of the “worst case” – the worst case scenario – if the Olympic fourth-placed player didn’t make it onto the podium. “We didn’t come here to go home empty-handed,” said Kessing. But that’s exactly how it happened.

Top of the world sometimes far away

Weber got in cautiously with 80.43 meters, then Chopra made the first big throw of the last evening. The Mainz weaver – always cheered on by the audience – held back with almost 86 meters and clenched his fists after the jump in second place. Then Nadeem, fifth at the Olympics and World Championships, passed, followed by Vadlejch.

On the other side of the stadium, high jumper Christina Honsel was happy about eighth place with 1.94 meters – this did not change anything about the German zero number. “It also makes me sad that we didn’t win a medal in the end,” said Geher and team captain Christopher Linke on ZDF.

Decathlon hope Leo Neugebauer was fifth on Saturday evening and still enjoyed his lap of honor extensively. The women’s relay around Gina Lückenkemper hugged each other happily after sixth place, while international stars wrapped in national flags, such as triple sprint world champion Noah Lyles, celebrated next to them.

Both symbolized the state of German athletics. Achievements that European Champion Lückenkemper says are “worthy of every honor” are far from sufficient for medals at world championships. Some of the world leaders are far away, and the trend reversal after Eugene’s sadness has failed to materialize.

“If I stay healthy, there is no limit”

Sports director Jörg Bügner did not want to adjust the ambitious goal of being among the top 5 in the world again by 2028. A year before the Olympics in Paris, however, the worried impression remains that we will no longer be able to catch up. “We have found that we have lost touch with the world’s best in many disciplines,” said Bügner. The world leaders have developed significantly. “We have a greater distance to cover and we have to work harder.”

13 top 8 placements were six more than at last year’s World Cup in the USA. But there was gold from the long jump Olympic champion Malaika Mihambo, who was missing this time due to injury, and bronze from the sprint relay – and medals are crucial for the reputation. An exciting EM summer fairy tale like last year’s does not gloss over the meager World Cup yield this time.

The German record holder Neugebauer, who was still on course for gold at half-time, felt “fantastic” even without a medal after the second-best decathlon of his life. “The competition taught me a lot about myself,” he said on Sunday about the “rehearsal” for Paris. “Better that it happens now than next year at the Olympics.”

The 23-year-old, who studied in the USA and had an impressive performance development outside of the association measures at a university with great financial possibilities, set the motto for Paris. “If I stay healthy, there is no limit,” he said. A Neugebauer in top form is urgently needed at the Olympics.