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Shot put fanatic

Benedict Chong Wong wants to go as far as he can on the athletics field. He talks with Julian Raethel about how shot putting has taken over his life.

Things are looking up for shot putter Benedict Chong Wong. He may only be 18, but he’s learning things at a fast pace.

‘‘When I was younger I got into a bit of trouble,’’ he says. ‘‘I moved to Liston College and decided to take all the opportunities I could. ‘‘I’d just started doing shot put before that and it would help take my mind off things.’’

Chong Wong began taking it seriously after finishing high school at the end of 2012. After one month he added three metres to his throwing power and won the New Zealand Track and Field Nationals for the 5kg colts grade in March 2013.

The Massey resident has been coached in the past by Didier Poppe, who has also coached Valerie Adams and Jacko Gill. He is now under the tutelage of Ross Dallow, Howard Baker, Eric Espinassy and Murray Freer.

‘‘Murray would let me go and train with him at the Henderson police gym,’’ Chong Wong says. ‘‘That was really great.’’

Chong Wong has learned a few tricks in his shot putting journey and switched his technique from glide to rotational at the start of the year. He admits it was a risky move only weeks out from the nationals.

‘‘It’s like learning to run without learning to walk. ‘‘But I’m more built for rotational and am now getting more power out of it. ‘‘I’ve added three to four metres in one month.’’

It’s not just his style that has improved. Chong Wong has lost 13kg since December, dropping from 132kg to 119kg. At 191cm tall, he says it’s made all the difference to his agility.

His other talent comes with the discus, he threw his personal best of 40.68m in Christchurch in February.

‘‘Discus is more of a side event and about mental recovery for me. ‘‘If you focus on one specialty it can get stressful so discus puts me back in a good head space.’’

original article by Julian Raethel in The Western Leader, 4th April 2014

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