#RoadToRio 2016 Kiwi Olympic Squad #1

 I mean, the Walsh vs Gill shot put funk will be interesting enough. Bring on Rio.

I mean, the Walsh vs Gill shot put funk will be interesting enough. Bring on Rio.

Up to this point, any Olympic hype had been centred around our love for the Olympics and constant noise about sports that simply aren't as fun at the Olympics. What we love about the Olympics are the true-blue Olympic sports, sports and events that are either the purist in human athletic endeavours or celebrate their pinnacle every four years at the Olympics. 

That's why the news of our first 10 Olympic athletes being named saw me take notice as they are all track and field athletes, there's also a few medal hopes in that group as well. Of late we've had a sprinkling of world-class athletes who are a chance of an Olympic medal and on top of those genuine world-class athletes, we have a young crop of track and field athletes coming through who will ensure that we have a kiwi presence in these events into the future. 

Valerie Adams - Shot put

We all know the Queen of kiwi sport, she's been there before and will be gunning for her third gold medal from three Olympics. There's not much to add here as Queen Val has held kiwi athletics down for almost a decade if there's any kiwi athlete at the Olympics who can genuinely kick it as an international sporting deity, it's Queen Val, who's personal best is 21.24 from 2011.

Stuart Farquhar - Javelin

Competing in his third Olympics will be one of Aotearoa's lesser known athletes. Farquhar is from Te Aroha and at 34-years-old this will likely be his final shot at an Olympic medal to go with his 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medal. Farquhar's personal best of 86.31m was recorded in 2012.

Jacko Gill - Shot put

We all know Jacko Gill as the phenom from his training videos, which first came out when Gill was still a teenager. Now a 21-year-old, Gill will be looking to establish himself as one of the world's best shot putters in the world and he's one half of the reason why men's shot put will be a must-watch event at the Olympics. Gill's last outing saw him come 9th at the World Indoor Championships with 19.93m while his personal best is 20.75m.

Good morning on the water! 🎣

A photo posted by Jacko Gill (@jackogill) on

Nikki Hamblin - 1,500m

The owner of both a 1,500m and 800m 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medal, 27-year-old Hamblin has bounced back nicely in recent years as she's hovered around the 4:05 minute mark for two years. Hamblin's personal best is 4:04 minutes from back in 2011 so it'll be interesting to see how the Cambridge athlete performs in Rio.

Eliza McCartney - Pole Vault

Amongst a few young athletes, we have a certified phenom who could take the Rio Olympics by storm. The 19-year-old Aucklander has been a star in recent times, setting a world junior record of 4.64m before she set a whole bunch of local kiwi records earlier this year with a jump of 4.71m. At the Indoor World Champs, McCartney finished 5th with a jump of 4.70m, not bad for her debut in international senior competition.

Angie Petty - 800m

Hamblin has competed in the 800m previously, however now we have 24-year-old Angie Petty who will do the job for us kiwis in Rio. The Cantabrian competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games where she finished 5th with a time of 2:01:94, however Petty's personal best came last July in South Korea where she went under 2 minutes (1:59:06) so we could see Petty burst on to the scene in Rio.

Quentin Rew - 50km walk

Ah the walk, a fan-favourite and we've got kiwi Quentin Rew to watch in the goofiest looking Olympics event. Rew is 31-years-old and he's been building towards the Rio Olympics nicely having trimmed his 2011 50km effort of 4:06 hours down to 3:48, which he recorded in Beijing last year where he finished 10th at the World Champs, doubling as his personal best.

Zane Robertson - 10,000m

Fighting out of Ethiopa, Robertson will be looking to go better than his 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medal. Robertson is one of the funkiest kiwi athletes, given that he and his twin brother moved from Hamilton to Kenya as teenagers, so he's been learning from the best for a while now. Robertson's personal best came last year when he ran 10,000m in 27:46mins.

Tom Walsh - Shot put

The bloke putting Gill in the shot put shade has been Timaru's Walsh, who at 24-years-old is the current World Indoor Champion. Walsh's personal best also came last year when he registered a throw of 21.62m in Zagreb, keep in mind that the 2012 Olympic gold medal was won with 21.89m, so Walsh is gunning for that gold medal.

Nick Willis - 1,500m

Aotearoa's premier runner is Nick Willis and after the 2008 Olympic silver medal, Willis couldn't kick on in London where he finished 9th. Willis is trending very well ahead of the Rio Olympics, which isn't always easy as he's now 32-years-old but you can't ignore that in the last two years he's seen his best times dip below 3:30mins and he's coming off a 3rd at the World Indoor Champs.