Above: Tom Walsh in winning form in the 2018 Commonwealth Games shot put final. Photo by Alan McDonald / Macspeedfoto.
Tom Walsh ticked off another goal in his quest to hold every global shot put title, taking the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal on the Gold Coast.
It was New Zealand’s first men’s Commonwealth Games gold medal in the shot put, something that Walsh said he was getting used to doing.
“I’m getting used to doing those things, New Zealand hadn’t had a men’s world title until I came along indoors and outdoors, so pretty stoked to add another one to the tally, I’m only missing one now which is the Olympic gold and that’s another two years away,” he said.
The 26 year old from Christchurch opened with a throw of 20.40, to trail Australian Damien Birkinhead who was out to 20.50m in the first round.
Walsh improved and took the lead in round two with 21.21m. The next throw Walsh looked his usual pleased self sending the ball of steel out close to his Games record of 22.45m set the day before in qualifying, only to have a red flag raised after he clipped the front board of the circle with his foot.
Walsh extended his winning throw to 21.41m in round four. Chukwuebuka Enekwechi of Nigeria was second with a personal best 21.14m and Tom Nedow of Canada third also in a season best 20.91m.
Walsh said despite not throwing as well as he had hoped, he was very pleased with the win.
“I’m really happy with winning the gold and knocking that off. I didn’t quite throw as well as I wanted to, I had one or two good throws out there but I couldn’t manage to stay in the circle.
“At the end of the day I came here to win gold and I did that,” said Walsh.
Walsh appreciated the vocal support from the crowded stadium.
“The support was awesome, we had I think half the stadium was New Zealand by the sound of it, and there was a huge amount of support from back home as well.”
Walsh still has the world record of 23.12m in his sights.
“I still have unfinished business to attend to, I thought I’m in good enough shape to throw over that 23 metre line, by what I’ve been throwing over the last month and I thought tonight I was heading the right way, but I couldn’t line it up, so we’ll sit back and enjoy it as well,” he added.
“I was just a little bit pushy today trying a little bit too hard. I know when I try hard it doesn't work.
“When you win all the time, things are sugar coated so we can learn a little bit from this, but I still managed to win which is awesome.
“I’ve got much more room to improve everywhere still, for example tonight just a little bit off in terms of the mental side of things, so when I can address that a little bit more and we’ve been really good at that over the last few years in letting loose and let it move freely I’ll be fine,” said Walsh who was off to have a relaxing evening with a few beers.
Meanwhile, Camille Buscomb was well placed in second over the early stages of the 10,000m final but felt the pressure in the later stages and was unable to foot it with the leading group over the final laps and the 27 year old from Hamilton drifted back.
She finished 14th in a respectable 32:23.91, the second fastest time of her career.
The 12 time New Zealand champion said that her training indicated that she was capable of a faster time.
“I felt all right, it was a bit quicker than it felt and then they starting picking it up and I couldn’t go that extra bit and I couldn’t go any faster,” said Buscomb.
“I just didn’t have it today which is a real shame,” she added.
Stella Chesang of Uganda won the race in 31:45.30.
Buscomb will compete in the 5000m final on Saturday.
Athletics New Zealand Correspondent