Double world junior champion Jacko Gill is the latest shot put talent to come out of New Zealand. The 19-year-old will be looking to add another medal to his tally at the Commonwealth Games next week. He tells SPIKES about his idol Ricky Bruch, Sweden’s colourful 1972 Olympic discus bronze medalist.

“Ricky was probably the craziest and most passionate guy I’ve ever met in sport.

“He was amazing. He had flair as a thrower and before his death [in May 2011] he used to talk to me most days over the internet.

“I first met him after I won my first world junior title in Moncton, Canada [in 2010]. He talked a lot and we had a close bond.

“He was a really funny guy, still a little crazy, but he was always keen to help out and give me a little bit of advice here and there. I really liked him. Talking to him was like talking to my hero.

“Watching some of his videos from when he was younger, the guy was amazing. I am really lucky to have known him.”

Bruch was well known for his rigorous training regimes

“He was a really genuine guy. If anyone was struggling with their lifting he would help them out. He had a lot of run-ins with a lot of people, but I knew he always meant well.

“A couple of weeks before he died he emailed me and said he had cancer, but wished me luck with my throwing.

“I think, in his mind, he thought he was going to beat the disease. He had the mind and soul he was going to fight it.

“He passed away very suddenly and it was really sad. The next week [after Bruch's death] I threw my first 20m throw with a 7.26kg shot. I was sad he didn’t get to see that.”