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Kiwi strikes gold at world junior champs

Published: 1:16PM Thursday July 22, 2010 Source: NZPA

Auckland teenager Jacko Gill produced a stunning effort to win the men's shot put at the world junior championships at Moncton, Canada today.

Gill, just 15, sent the 6kg shot out to 20.76m, the world's leading age group mark this season, to beat Serbia's Bozidar, 18, by 50cm in the final. Third was China's Ding Yongheng, 19, who threw a personal best 20.14m.

He also set a world age group record and improved on his New Zealand under-19 and under-18 records of 19.92m set in winning the New Zealand title in Christchurch in March.

He joins Valerie Vili as a world shot put champion. They are both coached by Didier Poppe.

AUDIO: Listen to ONE Sport's chat with Gill after his win

"I am thrilled. I barely qualified for the final and now I'm going home with the gold. That's very special for me," Gill said.

"I was the young guy coming into the competition and pleased to be able to pull this off since I'm one of the smaller guys in the field," added Gill who was the fifth-best qualifier for the final behind Ding, Antunovic, American Hayden Baillio and China's Meng Li.

"This is my first world competition of this scale and now I hope I can carry this win over to the (next month's) Youth Olympics in Singapore."

Gill finished third in his first round group, a 19.28m edging him past the qualifying mark of 19.20m.

Fellow shot putter Tomas Walsh of Timaru failed to qualify from his group. He was 10th with 17.92m, well short of his personal best of 18.82m.

Tauranga's Michael Cochrane clocked a personal best of 52.25sec to advance to the next round after finishing third in his 400m hurdles heat.

Anna Roche and Angela Smit failed to advance to the women's 800m final.

Roche, from Wellington, posted a personal best time of two minutes, 07.01 seconds as she finished seventh in her semifinals heat.

Smit, from Christchurch, finished fifth in her heat, in a faster time of 2min 05.51sec but was well short of her personal best of 2min 03.87sec set earlier this month.

"I came fifth and I just really wanted to get through to the final, so I'm really disappointed," Smit said.

"I was off my personal best too. Had I run my PB, I could have got through."

Nelson's Alex Jordan did not make the finals of the men's 400m when he finished sixth in his heat with a time of 47.65sec.