Athletics: Gill adds to shot put world record collection

Jacko Gill, of Auckland, on his way to breaking the under-16 and 17 world record and the under-20...
Jacko Gill, of Auckland, on his way to breaking the under-16 and 17 world record and the under-20 New Zealand record in the men`s 19 and under shot put at the New Zealand track and field championships. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Jacko Gill's target is the London Olympics. He is taking a year off school to achieve his goal.

Gill (16) is a phenomenon in an event like the shot put which is usually dominated by men in their late 20s and early 30s.

He is causing planners to rethink where they place the shot put circle on sports grounds. Gill's throw went tantalisingly close to the all-weather run-up for the javelin when he added another world age-group record to his collection at the New Zealand track and field championships at the Caledonian Ground on Saturday.

He won the men's 19 shot put title and beat his own world record for a 16-year-old with the 6kg shot when he threw 21.34m.

It improved on his own under-16 record of 20.76m and also bettered the under-17 record of 21.08m set by German David Storl in 2008.

Gill now holds 10 world age-group records in the shot put.

He was disappointed he did not beat the 22.73m that Storl holds for 18- and 19-year-olds.

"I wanted a lot further today, but there are a lot of other opportunities to do it," Gill said.

"There are a few technique things that are wrong."

Two of his throws beat the old world mark for a 17-year-old. His sequence was 20.33m, 21.14m, 20.94m, 20.87m, 21.36m, 20.76m.

He is taking a year off school at Takapuna Grammar to train fulltime. He trains between five and six hours a day, six days a week.

He intends competing in the senior shot put at the Australian championships in Melbourne next month.

He heads the New Zealand ranking list for the 7.26kg shot with 18.57m and needs to reach 20.30m to qualify for the world championships in South Korea this year.

"I want a world championship qualifier," he said. "It will give me a good base for the London Olympics."

Gill, is coached by Didier Poppe, who was Valerie Adams' coach last year. He has mastered two turns in the circle before delivering his shot.

He was the youngest world under-19 champion in Canada last year. His sister, Ayla, was sixth in the hammer throw.

Gill's father won the New Zealand senior shot put title in 1987 and 1989 and the discus in 1975.

Tom Walsh (Canterbury), who finished second with 19.91m, had a personal-best throw by 9cm.

- World records

• 5kg: 20.42m (under-14, 2009), 23.86m (under-15, under-16 and under-17, 2010).
• 5.44kg: 20.76m (under-15, 2010).
• 6kg: 17.41m (under-14, 2009), 20.76m (under-15, 2010), 21.34m (under-16 and under-17, 2011).
• 7.26kg: 18.57m (under-15, 2010).


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