New Zealands medal count jumped to five with four days remaining in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. World junior champion Jackson Gill, the youngest and the smallest in the field, climbed out of his sick bed to grab a silver medal in the junior mens shot put, managing two personal best throws in the process at the Bishan Stadium tonight. Fellow Aucklander Joseph Parker moved into the final of the super heavyweight boxing competition in impressive fashion, with the only thing to be decided is the colour of the medal when he takes on Frenchman Tony Yoka in the gold medal clash. Theres also the chance of a bronze medal in the junior womens hockey where New Zealand will take on Korea on Tuesday after they were pipped 1-0 with a late goal by tournament favourites Argentina in their final pool game which was a virtual semifinal. Gill was two years younger than all his rivals in tonights final of the shot put, and gave away some significant weight advantage. More so in that the North Harbour athlete has dropped 3kgs to 86kg after picking up a virus since arriving in Singapore. He was definitely not his usual self. He was slower, less speed and not as explosive, said coach Didier Poppe. I noticed he was sitting down all the time after his throw where usually he is always moving around. He is smaller than the others but he has good elevation and that was not there tonight. Still he had two personal best throws when he was not feeling so good, so that is very okay. He is still very young. Top qualifier Krzysztof Brzozowski (POL) laid down the challenge from the start with an opening 23.25m throw, nearly a metre more than his previous best. Gill answered in round two with a 22.60m effort, his personal best and his longest of the night with all four of the Polish throwers efforts longer the kiwis best. Gill was not making any excuses and placed high expectations on himself after his performance at the world juniors and his form in training. Overall I am actually disappointed. In training I had been easily getting over the 23s all the time but I just could not click tonight, Gill said. When you get two PBs that are only just better than your previous best you know you were capable of further and that could have been the one that was over 23 metres. To get out there and throw a reasonable distance is alright. Ive been a bit sick and lost some weight but absolutely no excuses though. Now I will set myself for nationals back home and aim at beating the Polish guys winning distance and set myself up for a good season. The aim is London in 2012 and hopefully I can make it. In the ring Parker was all class as the Manukau athlete toyed with is opponent Jozsef Zsigmond (HUN) in the first round before landing a thunderous straight right just 37seconds into round two that saw the Hungarian retire. His opponent in the gold medal match won his opening bout when the referee stopped the contest and today won his semifinal 5-0 on points. My coach said that in the first round we should test him out and unleash a little bit of power in the second and I managed to get in the result we wanted, Parker said. All the support here is real different. It gives me more excitement to fight harder to try to get a win for everyone who has come to support. Parker, who won a bronze medal at the world juniors and silver at the Commonwealth event, has focussed on the Youth Olympics. To me this is a real serious competition and I have trained real hard for this. Everyone here is a champion so you have to treat them with respect. I know the competition quite well. I have not fought the Frenchman but he won the silver in Azerbaijan (world juniors) and hopefully it will be a good final. The junior girls hockey side fought valiantly in their key clash against unbeaten Argentina with only a successful penalty corner by the South Americans nine minutes from time separating the sides. The New Zealanders defended stoutly, twice reduced to a player down, but could not mount enough pressure on Argentina to force a goal. Argentina finished on the top of the group with 13 points and will meet the Netherlands in the final after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Korea, who tackle the kiwis in the bronze medal match. New Zealand came from behind to beat Korea 3-2 in pool play, with the aggressive and physical Asian side upsetting the skilful attacking game from the kiwis. Tomorrows ninth day of action sees the basketball team take on Egypt in the playoff for 13th place while the becalmed sailors hope for three races off the Singapore Marina. Julia Ratcliffe (hammer throw) and Jenna Hansen (steeplechase) compete in B finals while Nelson sprinter Hazel Bowering-Scott has been selected for the Oceania combination to contest the team relay at Bishan Stadium to complete the action.
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