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Jacko Gill changes coach, seeks improvement

Published: 6:11PM Thursday September 20, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

Shot-putting sensation Jacko Gill has employed the services of a new coach as he begins his preparations for Rio in 2016.

While his former coach, Frenchman Didier Popper, is still involved with the 17-year-old's training programme on a casual basis, former national shot-put champion Country Ireland is now Gill's main mentor.

"I'm very lucky actually. He is a fantastic athlete, incredibly dedicated and he is very unique so I think I'm privileged to be able to help out," Ireland told ONE News.

However the three-time junior world champion, who improved his under-20 world record to 24.35 metres in December last year, believes his progress has stalled in recent months.

"I haven't improved too much lately, Gill revealed to ONE News. "I would like to improve at a higher rate and I set quite high expectations and I think it was good to make a few changes and see how it goes."

Another change is shifting his training base from the Millennium Institute to Takapuna Athletics Club where his Dad Walter has constructed a new throwing circle.

But the employment of Ireland is the most significant difference in the budding superstar's career and the Commonwealth Games silver medallist believes he can bring a lot to the table.

"I think having been a shot-putter I can relate to the feelings you want to recreate and the things you want to feel as your throwing," Ireland said.

"I ask him a lot of questions of how this feels and how you're feeling as you're generating a set movement.

"It's important to understand to recreate that. Not that you want to do it at a meet, you have to throw hard at a meet but in a training environment you want to replicate senses of positions."

In competition Gill has smashed all age-group records and Ireland believes he has all the attributes to deliver in the senior ranks with the heavier 7.26kg shot.

"He is very ballistic and very fast and very strong. Those are things that are all very good for shot-putting and he is very good at all of them."

With those dynamics developing exponentially, there is a chance that New Zealand could have two gold medallists in the same event in 2016.

"You would have to say it is a possibility," Ireland said. "Val (Adams) is fantastic and Jacko is a tremendous talent and has the world at his feet now."

Adams, who finally received her Olympic gold medal in a ceremony in Auckland last night, remains an inspiration to Gill.

They regularly keep in touch via Facebook and email and have quickly became good friends.

"It's massive because I pretty much got into shot put watching what she did," he said. "I'm in awe of what she does and to win two Olympic golds in a row - it's really awesome and I will give everything I've got until I get to the level Val is at."