South Canterbury shot putter Tom Walsh does not think he has stepped out of Jacko Gill's shadow despite eclipsing his New Zealand record on Saturday night.
The 21-year-old threw 20.45 metres in Melbourne to beat 18-year-old Gill's mark by seven centimetres.
Despite improving by more than a metre in the last 12 months to surpass the teen sensation, Walsh said he felt like Gill would always be there.
"I don't think I'm completely out of his shadow to be honest with you," Walsh said. "I have his record but he could come out next week or whenever he wants and add a bit more distance.
"It's nice to have his record and know there is still a little bit left in the tank for me as well. He'll have to bring his A game to the nationals in March and we'll see how things go from there."
Walsh threw 20.30m last weekend in Christchurch and felt he should have secured the national record there but ultimately came up short.
The throw is a qualifying distance for the World Indoor Championships in Poland in March and a B qualifier for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
It caps an incredible 12 months for the 22-year-old, who at the start of 2013 had a personal best a metre less than his newly created national record.
He has come a long way from his opening event of the season, the Lovelock Classic in Timaru, where he was delighted to throw 18.78m.
Walsh said he had looked at every area of his preparation and performance to try to find extra centimetres. In the end he said the improvement came down to hard work.
"That's the million-dollar question," Walsh said when asked how he improved so quickly. "Just hard work really, not letting the foot off the throttle and remembering if you are doing the right thing, the results will come.
"I'm getting more lift in my throws," he said. "I'd always thrown quite flat but now with a bit of lift it is tending to go a bit further. I know if I catch one, I can go a bit further yet."
He said his time training with Kiwi world champion Valerie Adams in the middle of the year was also beneficial.
"I learnt a lot from how focused she was. She also helped me mentally."
Walsh said he hoped to train with her again in Europe ahead of the World Indoor Championships in Poland in March.
- © Fairfax NZ News