We find out more about the 20-year-old from the North Harbour Bays Club, who is New Zealand’s reigning senior men’s hammer champion.
What is your best athletics quality?
My best athletics quality has to be my speed and acceleration, which makes up for my lack of bodyweight. Having the natural and trained speed comes as a huge bonus to me as a thrower.
Why would you encourage anyone to try athletics?
First athletics is loads of fun as a kid. You get to learn how your body moves in space, you get to throw things around, jump around and run around. And then when are older, it's still the same - lots of fun and healthy competition. There are also little goals you can plan to achieve. Each little goal brings you closer to a bigger goal. You actually don't need to “beat” anybody, you just need to do your best and do that little bit better every time you go out to throw or run or jump. Every PB gives you a boost. There is something to suit everyone. So, yes, I would encourage anyone no matter how young or old to give athletics a go.
Who was your first coach and how did they influence your career?
There are two. My first throws coach was Sasha Pilkington and my first hammer coach was Millie McNie. Sasha coached a junior throws group at North Harbour Bays. Sasha has a great love of throwing and in passing on skills to children and encouraging and celebrating every success with them no matter how big or small. Her influence on my career was recognising my coachability fostering an even greater love of throwing and introducing me to the hammer at 12 years of age. Sasha also passed me on to Mille, a young hammer coach. At the age of 12, I couldn't officially compete in hammer for another two years but the club was interested to see how training an athlete in hammer from a young age would work out. Millie was foundational in teaching me how to physically throw the hammer because as (Commonwealth hammer champion) Julia Ratcliffe says, “Hammer throws aren’t born - they are made”. Millie also had a saying: “Only worry about what you can control, not what you can’t.” She was my coach when I won my first gold medal in hammer at the NZ Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships in 2013.
What are your athletics weaknesses?
My biggest weakness as a hammer thrower is my bodyweight, this is because I am currently a bit too light for the 7.26kg implement, weighing in at only 87kg. It is critical for me to work my way up to 100kg, to allow myself to fulfil my potential.
What is the funniest thing you’ve seen on an athletics track?
One of my personal favourite funny moments on the track would have to be when I've snapped a hammer or two as it always results with me falling on my bottom, which is quite amusing for people watching.
What is your favourite athletics session?
My favourite session is the one where Mike (Schofield) puts a mark out at 75m and I attempt to throw as many different hammer weights over the mark and continue to throw until I get them all or have run out of throws in the session. I thoroughly enjoy these because they push me to my limits and it makes Mike and I know what I'm capable of at that moment of time.
What is the greatest thing you’ve witnessed in an athletics stadium?
It would have to be watching Tom Walsh qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, everyone in the crowd was ecstatic and it made me wonder about this moment, if it happened to me in the future.
Who has been your toughest rival?
My toughest rival was Scott Gregory. Scott and I went head to head in nearly the all comps we competed in together at. If I didn’t have Scott push me, I wouldn’t be the same thrower that I am today.
If you could star in another sport which sport would it be?
It would be gymnastics because I think I have the right build and balance.
I also found that I enjoyed gymnastics when we did it at school as part of my PE course in sixth form.
When travelling to a meeting what is the most important item in your suitcase?
The most important item in my suitcase is my throwing shoes, because the shoes are critical for my event.
What is your greatest regret?
I have any regrets. It’s more that I have had some disappointments, which have been tough at the time but from which I have learned and grown as an athlete and as a person.
Who is the person who most admire?
It would have to be my coach, Mike Schofield, he pushes us to be the very best I can be not only within athletics but also outside training and competition. Mike teaches all his athletes how important it is to be a good person both in the competitive arena and in the public eye.
What are you most scared of?
I'm scared of not succeeding in my event, which I have put my heart and soul into for nine years. It would be a shame if I didn’t get the chance to represent my country on the biggest world stage, and I am doing everything I possibly can to make my dream a reality.
What is your favourite movie and why?
My favourite movie this year is Joker because it tells a really in depth plot that was fascinating to watch.
When was the last time you looked at your athletics medals?
Mum has the older ones stored away in a box and the more recent ones are hanging in the lounge - I think she looks at them more than I do!