Two-time world junior shot put champion Jacko Gill has put together a new coaching and management team, which he hopes will guide him through the difficult transition from the junior to the senior ranks.

Leading `Team Jacko' will be his new manager, Les Mills, the four-time Olympian and 1966 Commonwealth Games discus champion, who has taken on the lead role for aiding his development.

Leading Gill's coaching team will be Kirsten Hellier, the woman who guided Valerie Adams from a talented schoolgirl from Mangere East into an Olympic champion before they parted ways in 2010.

Gill, 19, will receive further technical support via video from his former coach, Courtney Ireland, the 1994 Commonwealth silver medallist, who relocated from New Zealand to Singapore last year.


Other `team members include the 1966 Commonwealth decathlon champion Roy Williams, who will support the shot putter's general conditioning. Meanwhile, boxing coach, Ben Tupu, will also be part of the inner circle to aid his overall fitness.

Mills, has a wealth of athletics experience. Besides his competitive background, the 79-year-old was director of coaching at Athletics New Zealand in the 1980`s and coached 1997 world discus champion Beatrice Faumuina.

He has acted as an advisor at various stages of Gill's development and was delighted to be given the chance to manage an athlete he rates as the finest junior New Zealand has ever produced.

"I get pleasure out of seeing him compete and it will be wonderful to see Jacko evolve,'' Mills said.

"Since he's been about 12, he's been driven internally to succeed. From such a young age he was motivated to set goals. I've never met anyone in track and field that has the event maturity that Jacko has. Having said that he need to be surrounded by a team that will both protect him and let him develop without pushing too hard. He needs special care. He doesn't want to be coached in a way that he doesn't want a part of. He understands very deeply what he is doing.''

Mills said adjusting to competing with a 7.26kg shot as a senior can take its toll.

"Jacko is a very strong young man and one of the challenges is to make sure he gets stronger but it is important he doesn't lose his explosive mobility,'' Mills said.

"Many shot putters are thickset, very powerful men - but these are the guys that don't necessarily win. The other area we need to look at is the technique he had when throwing the 6kg (junior) shot is just as good, if not a little bit better when throwing the 7.26kg senior shot.''


Gill's next committed target is to compete at the New Zealand Championships, which take place in Wellington from March 28-30.

Beyond that the shot put ace hopes to feature in the Commonwealth Games, which take place in Glasgow in July.

Yet Mills is taking a patient approach with Gill.

"His hand and ankles are sound, his mobility and his explosive work are sound and the training distances are good,'' Mills said.

"What this will translate to (in competition) we don't know yet. We are looking more at Jacko's evolution that will take him all the way to Rio. Let's take a steady as she goes approach, because the reality is the transition from juniors to seniors will take at least a couple of years.''