Shotputter Jacko Gill goes downhill

MARK GEENTY IN GLASGOW
Last updated 09:50 29/07/2014
Jacko Gill
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
TOUGH DAY: Kiwi shotputter Jacko Gill bounced out in the finals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Richard Patterson
Getty Images Zoom
Richard Patterson reacts after winning the gold medal at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow.

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One commentator innocently pronounced his name "Yacko Jill" during qualifying. Certainly, this was a different thrower to the one we know as New Zealand's double world junior shot put champion Jacko Gill.

The 19-year-old strongman's bubble burst in spectacular fashion in the men's shot put final at Hampden Park, as he tumbled out without making the final eight.

It didn't look promising in his warmup throws, and Gill's only counting ones were embarrassing efforts of 16.70m and 18.05m, placing him 11th of 12. Hopes of him joining compatriot Tom Walsh on the podium faded, fast.

Just 24 hours earlier he'd qualified fifth with a handy effort of 19.54m, and with a season's best of 20.70m set in Rarotonga in June, he seemed a distinct medal chance.

A deadpan Gill explained his technique was "a bit off".

"I felt pretty good but I just wasn't there in the competition," he said.

"I wasn't getting the shot put in the centre of my hand so I was losing all the power and the front foot was a bit late coming down and there was no power at the end. I just lacked something."

Gill said that hadn't happened to him before. "This is a new one; it's pretty disappointing."

He made regular trips to speak to his coach Kirsten Hellier about technique but things barely improved.

Gill revealed he'd thrown poorly at his final lead-up which hadn't augured well when he joined the New Zealand team for a pre-Games camp. Much of his Games buildup took place at home in Auckland, which he preferred to an extended buildup in Europe.

"I had a really bad competition leading into this. I've had my two worst competitions here and in Cardiff," he said.

"I really enjoyed Rarotonga, amazing place and I had a really good time and I seemed to come through there. But sometimes you do really well in your first competition then you go down. I must have peaked too early."

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