Dunedin gumboot thrower finalist

Boots and all . . . New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year finalist Kieran Fowler, of Dunedin, holds a gumboot in Mosgiel on Friday. PHOTOS: SHAWN MCAVINUE 

Dunedin gumboot-throwing champion Kieran Fowler is a finalist in the New Zealand Rural Sports Awards in Palmerston North tomorrow night.

The 29-year-old technical field officer at Farmlands Taieri said he was surprised to be named a finalist.

He had been unaware of his nomination by the New Zealand Boot-Throwing Association.

He “dusted a suit off” yesterday and was booked to leave Dunedin tomorrow to attend the black-tie event.

If he wins, the prize would join his other accolades for throwing.

He was crowned national gumboot-throwing champion in Palmerston North last year.

He has represented his country twice in decathlons and is a former Otago discus champion.

The action for throwing a discus and gumboot were similar but a boot needed more of a lob to achieve the right flight path.

He placed third in the World Boot Throwing Championships in Finland in July last year.

At the championship he was up against competitors from countries including Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Poland.

At the world champs, he threw a boot 55m – a couple of metres further than a throw which won the world championship title the previous year.

His lead was short-lived, as two Finnish competitors secured the two top podium spots with throws of 56m and 58m.

“Gumboot throwing is huge in Finland . . . They take it pretty serious, where we do it for a laugh.”

In New Zealand competitors had to throw a size 8 Skellerup gumboot.

At the world champs in Finland, a bespoke boot was made for competitors to throw.

He planned to compete in the next world champs in Taihape in the North Island later this month.

“With a bit of luck the Finns won’t show up and I’ll become world champion.”

At the awards ceremony in Awapuni Function Centre tomorrow, Fowler will be up against Tony Bouskill, of Napier (fencing), and James Kilpatrick, of Tauranga (tree climbing).

Awards judging panel chairman and former All Black Brian Lochore said the awards were in their third year and had gone from “strength to strength”.

Nominees and winners would compete in the New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North on Saturday, Sir Brian said.