Katie's shot at the big time

By Gary Caffell


Athletics

Ask experienced Carterton throws coach John Quinn the potential of Wairarapa College shot put exponent Katie Smith and he is quick to respond.

"It is enormous. We are only just starting to tap into it," says Quinn and that's high praise coming from a mentor of his ilk.

Quinn and Smith, 16, have been working together for the past couple of seasons and the relative rookie's progress has been such that her coach was not surprised when she claimed a silver medal at the secondary schools championships in Dunedin last weekend.

Smith was the "baby" in the senior girls' shot put and her best effort of 11.78m, the second of her six attempts, was beaten only by Siositina Hakeai of Auckland Girls' Grammar who managed 13.04m. It was a memorable meet for Hakeai, who also won the gold medal in her specialist event, the discus, with a national record-breaking throw.

Making Smith's performance even more noteworthy was the shot used weighed 4kg, 1kg heavier than she usually competes with. It was a personal best with the heavier implement and the composed manner in which she handled the change spoke volumes about her temperament.

"We didn't get a lot of chances to work out with the 4kg shot before we went south but that didn't seem to bother Katie at all. She just went out there and did the best she could," Quinn said.

One of the top age group netballers in Wairarapa during the winter months, Smith's talents in that sport are being put to good use in the shot put arena.

"Netball has helped give her that explosive bounce which is so important, and she's got the physical strength to go with it," Quinn said. "Obviously there is still plenty to work on technically but that's to be expected so early in her career. She's got a big future ahead of her."

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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