Oppressively hot weather and a largely unsuitable diet wasn't enough to prevent Connor Bell from reasserting his status as the best Under-18 discus thrower in the World at the Micronesian Athletics Championships in Vanuatu.
The product of Westlake Boys’ High School threw 64.47m in confirming his spot at the Junior Olympics in Argentina in October. If Bell repeats that throw he will break the youth Olympic record.
However Bell wasn’t entirely happy with his performance.
“64.47 is my third best throw. Last year at Secondary School Nationals I had two better throws of 65.63m my PB and 64.90m. I’m striving to throw 70-metres by the end of the year,” Bell complains.
He needed just three throws at the schools nationals in Hastings to break the meet record, with
Auckland Grammar School’s Herman Metuaiviivitoa second and Wellington College’s Sean Howe third.
In March this year he won the Auckland Secondary Schools senior discus title by a dozen metres, throwing a meet record 62.33m.
The hot and variable weather took some getting used to in Vanuatu.
“The sun was very energy sapping and the wind unpredictable. It took me awhile to adjust and warm to my work,” Bell reveals.
Much of local diet also contrasted with Bell’s needs.
“It was very starch heavy which isn’t the best for me. I had to be watchful of what I ate to be in the right condition to compete,” Bell explains.
Bell will be training six times a week in the lead up to Argentina. How does he intend on guarding against complacency?
“There is an Italian throwing 63 and a half metres and a Norwegian and Spanish thrower around 62 metres so I can’t afford to be complacent and have to keep working hard,” Bell responds.
Bell was being coached by Olympic shot put champion Dame Valerie Adams, but this has temporarily stopped with Adams on a recent competitive break after giving birth to her first child.
Bell is the under 18 and 20 national discus champion and had the world’s leading throw in 2017.
Bell perfected his technique by studying hours of video footage of German discus legends Lars Riedel and Robert Harting and Estonia's 2008 Olympic champion Gerd Kanter.
In his spare time Bell is interested in Biology and diving.
The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be held from October 6 -18 with the participation of almost four thousand athletes from 206 countries.
New Zealand expects to send a team of up to 80 athletes to contest the third edition of the Youth Olympic Games
Read our previous story (2017) with Connor Bell at:
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