Negotiations are under way for world indoor shot put champion Ryan Whiting and Commonwealth Games champion O'Dayne Richards to compete against New Zealand's Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill at Waitakere Stadium in February.

Whiting, in particular, is believed to be keen on travelling from his United States home to avoid the northern winter and combine a family holiday with competition and training. Richards would be coming from Jamaica.

February 26 has been touted as a possible date with the quartet also potentially competing earlier in the week in Christchurch.

If Whiting or Richards are convinced to attend, it would represent a considerable coup for organisers.


Whiting's personal best of 22.28m came in May 2013 - the best throw of the year. He went on to place second at the world championships in Moscow. Richards' PB came with his victorious 21.61m throw at the Commonwealth Games in July.

The feats of Gill and Walsh in the past couple of years have resulted in a shot put rivalry set to match New Zealand's finest Olympic duels such as John Walker, Dick Quax and Rod Dixon chasing each other on tracks through the 1970s; triathletes Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty battling through the hills of Athens in 2004; or past Olympic champion Rob Waddell challenging incumbent world champion Mahe Drysdale for the single sculls oars at Beijing.

Gill held the world title and record at each age-group level whereas Walsh exploded onto the scene this year with bronze at the world indoor championships in Poland. His medal was a first for a New Zealand male athlete in the event's 29-year history. Remarkably, the meet was Walsh's first senior international competition and his first indoors.

Walsh finished second to Richards with a throw of 21.19m at Glasgow. Gill finished 11th with a best of 18.05m when he described his technique as "a bit off". The 20-year-old has since returned to base training and is understood to have bench pressed 225kg recently.

Val Adams, the recently-crowned IAAF female athlete of the year, was touted as another competitor at the event, but has opted out as she rehabilitates from shoulder and elbow surgery in September.

Her coach Jean-Pierre Egger arrives in New Zealand during the second week of January to monitor her training.

The Waitakere meet is also aiming to secure the services of the African-based Robertson twins, Jake and Zane, for the 5000m, as well as US-based Nick Willis for either the 5000m or 1500m.