Ben Collerton has recently set a decathlon personal best of 7148pts while competing for Texas State University in the US. The 20-year-old, who represents the University of Canterbury club and who is currently ranked number two in New Zealand, takes the time to answer our Five Minutes With questions.

What is your best athletics quality?

Im a perfectionist, which could also be my worst trait. Im never content, and I am constantly working to achieve better results and improve my techniques.

Why would you encourage anyone to try athletics?

Athletics is unique from other sports, in that every event requires something different of you. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and anyone can find an event which suits their athletic talents.

Who was your first coach and how did they influence your career?

Back when I was aged 14, my first coach was Todd Andrews. I spent a season working with him as a 400m runner. Todd introduced me to the meaning of a hard workout, as the 400m is not an easy event to train for, however he also had a unique ability to bring energy and fun to any practice session. I feel this has stayed with me through the years, as I always try to enjoy my practices and make the most of my time on the track.

Andrew Maclennan was my first decathlon coach before I started university here in the United States. Andrew was a fantastic coach and introduced me to a more analytical and biomechanical style of coaching, with a lot more technique and base work focus, which I believe set me up for where I am at today.

What are your athletics weaknesses?

Im an emotionally-driven athlete, so if I get frustrated with how an event is going, things can end up going downhill fast. Having said that I am much more level-headed now as I have got more experienced. My perfectionism can be a main contributor to frustrations, as I typically know exactly what I am doing wrong but Im unable to change out of the habits.

What is the funniest thing youve seen on an athletics track?

At the end of junior athletics life, my 4x100m teammates and I all wore the crop tops for our final relay race of the season. Some of the reactions we got, and the shocked faces from spectators, was probably one of the funniest moments Ive experienced at the track.

What is your favourite athletics session?

Anything involving speedwork - there is nothing like the feeling of sprinting fast. I also enjoy jumps sessions. The feeling of flying through the air, whether it be high jump, pole vault, or long jump, when you get it right, is incredible.

What is the greatest thing youve witnessed in an athletics stadium?

Its very hard to name just one, Ive experienced sub-10 second 100m races, 2.30m high jumps, 8m+ long jumps, 20m+ shot puts. Its incredible the talent Ive experienced both at home and at meets here in the US.

Who has been your toughest rival?

Growing up, Felix McDonald (2018 New Zealand senior mens decathlon bronze medallist) and I often used to compete head-to-head. First it was in the sprints, then the long jump, hurdles, and now the decathlon.

If you could star in another sport which sport would it be?

I played basketball all through high school, so if I could choose any other sport it would probably be that.

When travelling to a meeting what is the most important item in your suitcase?

My headphones. Travel is boring without some good music, and warming up to music always helps get amped to compete.

What is your greatest regret?

I wouldnt say I really have any regrets in life, Im pretty content with what I have achieved and I dont feel as if I have missed out on too much.

Who is the person who most admire?

The decathlon world record holder, Ashton Eaton, arguably, one of the greatest all around athletes of all-time. He is a fantastic role model with both his attitude and lifestyle and was an amazing talent to watch perform.

What are you most scared of?

Im not a huge fan of spiders, and I also dont like the feeling of failure. I will often do anything I can to avoid letting people down or letting myself down.

What is your favourite movie and why?

I cant really name one, however I can endlessly watch Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Blind Side is always a great inspirational movie.

When was the last time you looked at your athletics medals?

All my medals are back in New Zealand, so I havent seen them in quite some time, but the two medals I won this season here in the US are on my desk, so I see them every time Im in my room.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand