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Sport

Flushed with success: NZ’s Kerr pursues Games gold with toilet tactic

todayJune 5, 2024 4

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New Zealand high jumper Hamish Kerr aims to add Olympic gold in Paris to his world indoor title — by deploying tactical toilet breaks to help him mentally reset.

The 27-year-old calls himself “The flying Kiwi” and Kerr soared to the indoor crown in March in Glasgow, winning gold with a personal best of 2.36 metres.

It remains the highest jump by any athlete this year.

“I love those moments when you take off and know you have nailed it, even before you clear the bar,” he told AFP on a video call from Christchurch.

“It’s an awesome feeling.”

His goal now is to go even higher and capture the gold medal at the Olympics, which start next month in the French capital.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to go there and win,” he said.

“Any medal is going to be great, but if I can push on and get gold, I’d be stoked.”

His main rivals include Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, who memorably shared gold three years ago in Tokyo after both cleared 2.37m and neither was able to make 2.39m.

Kerr finished 10th after clearing 2.30m.

The New Zealander underlined his form heading into next month’s Paris showpiece by beating Barshim to win the Diamond League meet in Shanghai in April.

“It’s pretty insane to think you are competing with some of the best guys in the world and you are one of them,” he said.

“But at the same time I wouldn’t be doing this sport if I didn’t think I could be the best.”

Kerr, the 2022 Commonwealth Games champion, has an unusual strategy during competition.

While going for the indoor title in Glasgow, Kerr took himself off to the toilet between rounds and used the breaks to help himself stay focused.

“Without giving away too many details, I have the world’s smallest bladder,” he joked. “Getting a bit of peace and quiet was needed to help me reset.”

He plans to repeat the tactic at the Olympics.

“It’s something I do in most competitions. I find it really important to have those times where I can step back, breathe and think about what’s important.”

He always checks the lock of any cubicle door he uses on competition day after accidentally becoming trapped before a national schools event early in his career.

“Long story short, I got stuck in a toilet for about 40 minutes and ended up climbing through the roof to get out,” he said.

“It screwed up my whole routine and I ended up doing terribly. Now I check whether a bathroom door locks properly or not.”

Kerr hopes to win over the Paris crowd at the Stade de France, which holds 80,000, when the athletics events begin at the Olympics.

“I love getting the crowd involved. You try and feed off them, build a relationship with the people watching and perform for them,” he said.

It will be the biggest stage of his career so far.

“It’s going to be crazy, but it’s also something I am pretty excited about.”

ryj/djw/pst

AFP

(NAMPA / AFP)

Written by: Staff Writer

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