Kiwi shot putter Jacko Gill in a race against time

  • 01/07/2018

Kiwi shot putter Jacko Gill is in a race against time, as he faces the prospect of losing high performance funding.

The 23-year-old missed the 2018 Commonwealth Games, after he was diagnosed with myocarditis - inflammation of the heart muscle - last year.

For the first time, his training was forced to take a back seat to his health, as he recovered from the potentially life-threatening incident.

He has since returned to the shot put circle, but faces an uphill battle in reaching the required distance of 20.88m set by Athletics New Zealand to get funding.

Gill knows all too well how cut-throat the sport can be and has set himself the target of competing in Europe later in the year.

"As a shot putter, money isn't readily available," he told Newshub.

"We're not rolling in money or anything, so to get funding is a big part of my career every year. A lot of pressure is put onto that one moment.

"We have three throws to throw a certain distance at world championships. If we get that, we get funding - if we don't, then we don't get funding.

"We train for one year for three years, so it's three seconds - that's the whole year, if we get funding or if we don't get funding, so it's a big moment. A lot of pressure is put on those three throws."

Gill is largely limited in training and is somewhat blind to the progress he's making, as he's not allowed to even hold his breath for another month.

Patience has admittedly never been one his stronger traits, but he's learning to trust the process as he looks ahead.

"I'm really excited and nervous about getting the chance to compete, and hopefully getting that 20.88m," Gill said.

"You do think about it a lot and every training session, you compare how close you are to that 20.88 or whatever mark you have to throw to get your funding next year.

"A steady increase is what I expect over these next few months, when I can add things like strength, breathing and try a bit harder when I throw.

"I'm just going through movements and rhythm. I think if I was to put everything together right now, I'd be close to 20m, if I was to really go for it."

Tune into Newshub at 6pm tonight for the full story