Todd Hodgetts plots return to top after London bronze

NEW BLING: Paralympic shot put champion Todd Hodgetts shows off the bronze he won at the world championships in London. Picture: Hamish Geale
NEW BLING: Paralympic shot put champion Todd Hodgetts shows off the bronze he won at the world championships in London. Picture: Hamish Geale

After adding a fifth international medal to his trophy cabinet last month, Launceston athlete Todd Hodgetts would be well within his rights to take it easy. 

Instead, the 29-year-old F20 shot put champion is working harder than ever to regain the world record and most importantly, the title of world champion.

Appearing in Launceston for the first time since returning from London, Hodgetts spoke glowingly of the 15.96 metre effort that saw him win bronze at last month’s World-Para Athletics Championships before getting stuck into training. 

“I was in pretty good shape to do something special and I finished third which is awesome,” he said. 

“I was in third all day and I was after that extra bit and I got it in the last round which was good.”

While Hodgetts was undoubtedly proud of his performance in London, you’d be wrong to assume he’ll be content with third place when the next championships come around in 2019. 

Locked firmly in his sights is the 17.29m throw Malaysian athlete Muhamad Ziyad Zolkefli produced in London to win gold and set a new world record.

“There’s more to come, I’ve just got to continue to believe in myself and listen to my coach. 

“I need to get that 18m barrier and get my world record back, I want to be champion again and I’ve got another 10 years to prove it.

“I hope to be champion again and (be at) the Tokyo Paralympics, so hopefully I’m on the show there and I can throw 18m.”

Key to his plan is a training program which will see him adopt methodology endorsed by Ukrainian hammer throw coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk. 

Hodgetts believes the new technique combined with a strong mental game will help keep him at the top of the sport for the foreseeable future. 

“The first thing they say in the AIS and all around the world, the first muscle to go is your head.

“So if you are thinking straight and keeping all the negativity out of it, filling up with positivity and having a good plan, the world is your oyster and you can go until you’re 40 years of age.”

Hodgetts will spend the next week in Launceston before returning to his training base at the Victorian Institute of Sport in South Melbourne.

“I’m very proud of where I come from, very proud of my family history being here.

“Everyone’s got their story and just because people say you can’t do it... you should go out there and prove them wrong.

“You never know what’s going to happen look at me, I was just an average kid who had a few learning difficulties (and grew up) to be champion of the world.”