Hawke's Bay shot putter Nick Palmer achieved his goal of a podium finish at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas at the weekend.
The Hastings Athletics Club member who won silver produced an early 18.87m throw to grab the lead in the competition, well clear of the opposition. Palmer, 17, extended his lead with a 19.57m effort but his gold medal hopes were dashed when Aussie Alexander Kolesnikoff threw 19.76m in the final round.
New Zealand's flagbearer at the Games, Palmer, the Australian under-18 champion, was philosophical about the result and admitted he had hoped to get closer to his personal best of 19.97m.
Six weeks ago Palmer, a year 12 student at Karamu High School, stated his goal in the Bahamas was to podium. At the time he was throwing better than ever before thanks to quality time with Olympic Games bronze medallist Tom Walsh. Palmer, the 2016 Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools Male Athletics Athlete of the Year, and Walsh are both coached by Athletics New Zealand's Lead Throws coach Dale Stevenson of Christchurch.
The weekend's silver is a major step in Palmer's quest to qualify for next year's World Junior Champs in Finland.
After two days of competition in the three-day games the small Kiwi contingent has five medals. Aucklander Connor Bell won gold in the discus with a 63.17m throw. Te Aroha discus thrower Tatiana Kaumoana won silver with a 45.54m effort in her competition which Canadian Trinity Tutti won with a 49.57m throw.
Brisbane-based Katrina Robinson won silver in the 3000m and bronze in the 1500m. Robinson's 3000m time was 9m27.40s while Kenyan Emmaculate Chepkirui stopped the clock at 9m25.20s.
Robinson stayed near the front of the pack in the slow early stages of the race, opening up in the last lap to move up from fourth to second.
"It was really hot and no one wanted to take the lead so it was a slow and tactical race until the finish which was really quick and tough. I tried to stay relaxed as long as possible and kick at the end and it worked really well," said Robinson.
"It means a lot and it's a great experience, to get two medals is more than I could have asked for," she added.
Hannah O'Connor, from New Plymouth placed eighth in the race, well outside her best, perhaps showing the effects of the 1500m final where she lowered her best by six seconds.