Track & Field
New Zealand decathlete Brent Newdick is hoping to use his first Olympic experience as a springboard to a Commonwealth Games gold medal and a higher placing at Rio in 2016.
The 27-year-old from Tauranga finished 12th at London's Olympic Stadium yesterday with 7988 points - 126 points off his personal best.
He was happy to make the top-16 target set by the New Zealand Olympic Committee. His previous best at world championship level was 19th.
"I definitely wanted to come top 16, I wanted to prove that I was worthy of being here. In my mind I thought top-10 would be awesome. But not everything went right, so I'm happy with 12th."
Newdick now has a taste for the Olympics and is already aiming for another campaign.
"I already thought, even though I'm going to be 30 or 31 in Rio, that's going to be my best chance at the Olympics because decathletes peak later.
"These young guys are still going to be there, but I think I've got a lot of improving to do and there's room for improvement also. It will come quite quickly, I think.
"So I always had a plan to use this as a stepping stone.''
Newdick won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and said he hopes "to go for gold'' in Glasgow in 2014.
"The Commonwealth Games is a good chance to practise competing at the highest level.''
Newdick said the Commonwealth Games was "going to be really tough''. Two Commonwealth athletes, Canada's Damian Warner (fifth) and South Africa's Willem Coertzen (9th), finished ahead of him at the Olympics and he said there were also "a couple of Jamaicans, a guy from Grenada and Dan [Awde] from Great Britain, who unfortunately hurt his leg [and had to withdraw in London].''
Newdick overcame a niggly back injury to compete in London and said he did not have the best of starts to both days of competition. But his performance "got better throughout the day''.
"Nothing really went right but it was just solid right the way through.'' Newdick finished strongly with sound performances in the javelin (59.82m) and 1500m (4min 38.20sec).
After enjoying the final couple of days of the Olympics, Newdick plans to take two weeks off to travel in Europe with some Kiwi friends.
He plans to take part in a Diamond League decathlon meeting in France next month "provided all the little niggles come healthy''.
"I'll think about that in the next couple of weeks.''
American world record holder Ashton Eaton won the gold medal with 8869 points - 198 clear of compatriot Trey Hardee and a massive 346 ahead of bronze medallist Leonel Suarez of Cuba.
- © Fairfax NZ News