Above: Nick Palmer in action at the New Zealand Championships. Photo by Alan McDonald / Macspeedfoto.
Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist and New Zealand Under 18 shot put champion Nick Palmer is yet another talented young thrower to keep tabs on for the future. Here the 17-year-old Hastings Athletics Club athlete offers a little more of himself by answering our Five Minutes With questions…
Why and how did you start in the sport of athletics?
We were fishing in Napier on the beach when I was ten, I picked up a rock on the beach a chucked it a long way. My dad used to do athletics and he thought that I could be good at this. And so here we are now.
What was your first significant win?
I competed at the Wellington Colgates in 2014 in shotput and discus. I never faired very well in discus but ended up winning the shot put, which was probably my first decent victory. However, my first big win was the Australian Under-18 title in Sydney at the start of this year. It was really the first step, in my eyes, to actually becoming a "shot putter.”
What was your first major setback?
When I injured my back just before the first New Zealand Championships in 2016 with what a recurring rugby injury that got on top of me at the wrong time. It started as a sprained muscle in the upper back but ended up damaging my lower back, which still bothers me today. It was the peak of my season, so I couldn’t afford too much downtime. After nationals I fully rested up, got on top of the issue and came back stronger.
Best piece of coaching advice?
Believe and let it go. It’s two of Dale Stevenson’s favourite phrases and it reminds me to be relaxed and trust myself rather than to over-think things.
What qualities do think every athlete needs to succeed?
Utmost confidence and passion. It you don’t believe in yourself you can’t expect to perform. You have to love what you do, especially in shot put, otherwise spinning in a circle every day can become pretty boring.
What is the most important thing you have learned from your time in the sport?
Be patient and it will happen. In the countdown to the Commonwealth Youth Games the distances and technique were out and it wasn’t until the last week leading into the event in Bahamas, when everything clicked. I didn’t perform nearly as well as I could, but I learned a lot from the experience.
What is the best thing about being an athlete?
To be around people who push themselves to their limits everyday ... and the banter.
If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
Time travel. Then I could can back and fix those comps I bombed out in.
What is your hidden talent?
I can play a mean tune on guitar and I can vacuum up food faster than any Dyson.
What would be your last meal?
What is the most important piece of kit and why?
Chalk, no such thing as too much chalk.
What is your karaoke song?
I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing - Aerosmith
What is your greatest indulgence?
The beach. I just love Mother Nature and the power of the seas. You can’t beat the beach on a beautiful day.
If you could have three dinner party guests, who would they be and why?
Muhammad Ali, I want to meet the greatest.
My grandad pop, I never got to meet him and he's one of my greatest inspirations.
Marc Ellis, who wouldn't want to have him around.