Dale Pritchard will be representing NZ at the Oceania Track and Field Championships in Rarotonga this week. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Shot putter off to represent NZ

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The track and field season may have finished for most athletes two months ago, but Dale Pritchard hasn’t been able to put his feet up and relax just yet.

The 28 year old thrower has still been busy in the gym and out at the track, as he prepares for the Oceania Track and Field Championships in Rarotonga this week – his first time representing New Zealand.

Dale is ranked about third in both discuss and shot put, and says he’s really looking forward to competing in Oceania, where he aims to finish inside the top five in both events. “One of the goals I had when I very first started athletics was to go on and represent New Zealand, and this will be my first chance to do it,” he says. “For me I just want to finish in the top five, anything above that is good.”

Dale has just come off the best season of his career. He reached new personal bests in both shot put (16.31m) and discus (49.67m), broke a truck load of regional records, and won himself his first two national medals; a silver in discus and a bronze in shot put.

Dale had an “unlucky” run at nationals previously, finishing fourth place eight times in 12 attempts. But he was more than happy to finally break his curse and finish third in the shot put, behind New Zealand’s bright stars Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill.

Tom, who finished third at the World Indoor Championships, and Jacko, a world record holder at junior level, are the two best male shot put throwers New Zealand has produced. But Dale doesn’t see any negatives being stuck in the same generation as the duo. “It makes you prouder to be a New Zealand shotputter, behind that calibre of throwers.”

Dale’s first event will begin tomorrow New Zealand-time.