It's hard to believe a 16-year-old who took up athletics two years ago is now a national champion.

For Daniel Meyer, he's just taking it one throw at a time.

As a para-athlete, Meyer has made great strides in shot put and discus since his introduction to the sport of athletics. In spite of having cerebral palsy on his right side, the left-handed thrower currently holds the New Zealand record for the under-17 discus and shot put in the F37 classification.

In para-athletics, classifications are determined by what disability a person has and are used to ensure an even playing field between competitors. Even though he may not have hundreds of other athletes in his classification, Meyer's national record throws of 32.79m with a 750g discus and 10.4m with a 4kg shot put, speak for themselves.


Now a Year 12 student at Pompallier Catholic College, Meyer was introduced to athletics as a Year 10 at school before a friend dragged him along to a Whangārei athletics club training at the Trigg Sports Arena.

"I just came to have a few goes and then I just got used to it and wanted to do more," he said.

From there, Meyer attended his first New Zealand secondary schools athletics competition in Napier in 2017 where he broke both the discus and shot put records for his age group. Despite the nerves he felt in the lead-up to his first national competition, Meyer said he was blown away by his results.

"When I first went down to Napier and I broke a record just like that, I was shocked,"

"I'd just been training for a few days a week beforehand and to go down there and smash it was pretty cool."

Meyer's desire for success only intensified after that. In February of this year alone, Meyer had won gold in both discus and shot put in three separate track and field championships across the country.

In the Auckland championships, he earned two gold medals by breaking his previous national discus record with his current record throw of 32.70m and also setting a then national record shot put throw of 9.6m.

In the Northland championship, he repeated the double gold medal effort, this time setting two Northland records with throws of 30.37m in the discus and 8.03m in shot put. The Waikato championships were much the same with two gold medals and his current shot put record throw of 10.4m.


If that wasn't enough of a statement, Meyer then confirmed his dominance at the New Zealand athletics championships in Christchurch earlier this month where he took home two gold medals in both events.

Despite his results, Meyer's stronghold on these disciplines did not come easy. He regularly trained with other Northland athletes who weren't affected by disability, which was hard thing for Meyer to accept.

"When I first started in athletics, I used to go off their results and I just struggled a bit there."

"It can be quite frustrating at times, watching other people throwing far and sometimes I can get worked up about it because there are things I can do and other things I struggle with."

After a few years growing and maturing, Meyer now knew not to compare himself to others and concentrated on not letting it affect him in competition.

"Now, I just take my mind off it, don't think about it, go out there and try my best," he said.

"When I'm at a competition, I just try and get my first throw in and get a mark in the ground, instead of mucking it up and getting frustrated with myself."

Meyer had recently been selected as a member of the New Zealand Para junior development tour to compete in the Australian junior para-athletics championships in Sydney at the end of March.

While he hoped to achieve well on the trip, Meyer's eyes were set on gaining international classification next year which would allow him to compete in world para-athletics events.

With only a few metres between Meyer and his classification's world champions, his main goal was to reach the 2022 Commonwealth Games where he could realise his true potential.

"I've got to keep training, get bigger and stronger and work on my technique a lot more, but I'm pretty proud of what I've achieved and what I could do in the future."