ALHAMBRA, Calif. – The nation’s top young athletes are heading to Sacramento next week to compete in the Junior Olympics.

A 7-year-old from Alhambra has been practicing to throw the shot put at the big games. Every day Nehemiah Hilby steps into the ring, places the 4 lb. ball on his shoulder, and let’s go, he says he thinks about just one thing.

“Throwing the farthest that nobody can throw,” Nehemiah said.

Nehemiah is a top-ranked shot put thrower in the nation for his age group. His success comes from learning to focus on his strengths. Nehemiah joined a track team and realized he wasn’t the fastest, but he was strong. So his dad helped him redirect his talents.

“For his age he wanted to know how can he use that,” said his father Shaun Hilby. “I said well there is shot put, javelin, so he tried his hand at those, and that’s where it went from.”

Now Nehemiah has been pushing himself each day to get stronger. He has only been competing for a year, but he’s been working really hard. After just a few months, his coach noticed he was throwing well. Really well.

“At one of the track meets he threw he won by a lot. And I think he was throwing low six meters and the rest of the kids were throwing four, maybe three,” said coach Jalisa McFee, of Team D1 Elite Track Club. “And I’m like wait a minute, I might have something here.”

He has been practicing twice a week for the Jr. Olympics. But he says he has been prepared for months—and isn’t nervous. Now he is throwing his energy into bringing home the gold medal.

Nehemiah will compete Thursday, July 25 during the Track and Field competition.