Canadian athletes had an outstanding time at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, taking eight medals across a variety of events, and while Tim Nedow finished a modest 20th in the men’s shot put qualifiers, he was infected by the ebullient spirt that pervaded the men and women wearing the famous maple leaf on their vests.
At the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 on Friday, it could be the turn of the big man from Brockville, Ontario, to follow in the footsteps of his team mates in the Chinese capital.
He already has a bronze medal from the 2014 Commonwealth Games and a silver gained at last year’s Pan American Games but now the chance for him to get a medal on the world stage awaits.
Nedow comes to Oregon third on the list of entrants with his career best of 21.33m this winter but it’s not just a question of distance which make his medal credentials look highly credible.
He also arrives as a man in-form and the winner of the IAAF Indoor Tour, victorious in six of his seven outings so far this winter.
He took a 13-day break after his last meeting in the Czech town of Jablonec earlier this month, coincidently his only defeat of the season, to sharpen up for Portland.
“It’s pretty exciting, I’m going to Portland thinking about a medal,” said Nedow, speaking after winning in Madrid at the end of last month.
“If you can hit 21.30 at the right time, it could do some damage and get a medal. It’s going to be pretty competitive (USA’s) Kurt Roberts, the Polish guys and Tom Walsh from New Zealand, there isn’t a lot of difference between us. (Poland’s Michal) Haratyk looks good, I beat him in Stockholm but he still threw well.
“This winter was my first time really on the international circuit. I’ve still got to get out there more and get used to constantly coming up against world champions, and people like that but now I’m starting to go against these guys, I’m sure I’ll show some more soon.”
With a big cheque in his pocket thanks to first places in Karlsruhe and Stockholm which meant he rolled out the overall winner, not surprisingly Nedow is fan of the new-look IAAF World Indoor Tour; which in 2015 encompassed four of the top indoor meetings in the world and which will be expanded to take in a fifth meeting, Dusseldorf, in 2016.
“Winning the world Indoor tour and the $20,000 first prize will help me for sure. It’ll help with travel costs and many other things. t’ll be there are as security. If I want to go to a meet, I can go there now, or if something else happens, and I run out of money. I get a grant from Athletics Canada and some local sponsors but it will make a difference.”
Nedow’s improvement in the last few months of the year has been down to a combination of factors, both mental and physical.
“I’ve been around 21 metres for about four years but I’ve been called (fouled) on some of those throws.
“But this is the biggest I’ve ever been: 135, 136 kilos. I’ve done a lot more lifting this winter. I’ve always had the speed but I’ve improved on the strength side. I talked to my coach (Icelandic throwing guru Vésteinn Hafsteinsson) and he agreed that’s where I was lacking.
“This year I wanted to make a statement and I targeted the Toronto meeting at the end of January and that’s where I got my first 21-metre throw and once I got it, I got a lot more confidence.
YouTube technique tuition
“After I threw 21.33 in Stockholm, I’ve watched it on YouTube and the local TV station had a top down view and that was pretty cool. I was pretty happy but there’s still a lot of things I have to work on.
Nedow also paid tribute to another man, as well as Hafsteinsson, who has had a profound influence on his career, his compatriot Dylan Armstrong.
In addition to his Olympic and world championships medals, Armstrong is also the only Canadian shot putter ever to win a world indoor championships medal, taking the bronze in 2010.
“Dylan has been a huge influence and mentor to me. I gave him a call a few of years ago because I was a 20-metre shot putter and I didn’t know if I was going to keep going or not. He took me under his wing and showed me so many things, he’s just been great to me.
“I got into a lot of meets because of him. He showed me the way to train and I was collegiate shot putter and he showed me the difference between what I was doing and the professionals.
“He’s a great guy to look up to, the way he trains and the way he competes. I learned a lot from him.”
Phil Minshull for the IAAF