Athletics: Gill betters Games qualifying again

By Dylan Cleaver

Jacko Gil. Photo / Dean Purcell
Jacko Gil. Photo / Dean Purcell

When you're on as steep a career trajectory as Jacko Gill, even a decent night out can seem like bit of a plateau.

The 16-year-old shot put sensation went past the Olympic qualifying mark again at Sovereign Stadium on the North Shore last night, but his mark of 20.07m was well short of his personal best and the national record of 20.38m he set at the same venue.

Too bad, never mind - it's not as if time is against the North Shore thrower.

"I was more consistent than last week, but I obviously didn't throw it as far," a relaxed Gill said. "All my throws were around the 20m, which is not too bad but obviously I want a bit more because I set myself high expectations."

With the senior shot in his hand - he also threw the 6kg shot - he recorded a low of 19.60m while going past 20m once. They were pleasant conditions, though he was hurling into a breeze.

The surprising thing about the national record he set a fortnight ago was that he felt it was the worst his technique had been for a long time. The 20.38m, in other words, was a freak throw, rather than the results of finely honing his craft.

Was it any better across the circle last night?

"I think it was actually," Gill said. "My technique felt a lot better but obviously I was lacking a bit of punch.

"That's disappointing really, but to go past 20m again, past the Olympic qualifying mark, I shouldn't be too unhappy."

There is expectation whenever Gill turns up to throw now. Last night, along with the Herald, the networks were there to document any potential records. It's not quite Jacko-mania, but with the queen of shot put, Valerie Adams, and the most exciting prospect in the men's both wearing the silver fern in London next year, these are heady days for the sport.

We get to do it all again on Thursday, too.

"I've got another chance to do it and throw in nice weather," he said, before turning his attention to the 6kg shot.

Gill toppled his world youth record last night.

He threw 24.45m to better his record by 10cm, which he set at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Lille, France in July.

- NZ Herald

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