News & Updates

18 February 2023 • Track and Field

Tom seeks to impress on his home manor

Tom Walsh is hoping for season's best performance at ITM in Christchurch. (Credit: Alisha Lovrich).

Commonwealth shot put champion Tom Walsh is relishing the thought of competing on home turf at the ITM in Christchurch on Sunday (19 February) and believes he is in shape to unleash a sizeable season’s best throw.

The 30-year-old athlete has made a promising start to the season with throws of 21.09m at the Pak’nSave Cooks Classic in Whanganui and 21.21m at the Team Ledger Harcourts Capital Classic in Wellington but he is now demanding more from himself on his home track at Nga Puna Wai.

“We are very lucky to have the ITM here in Christchurch and it is always nice to have family and friends come and support me,” says Tom. “I travel around the world for so many different competitions and I don’t get to compete much at home, so being able to sleep in my bed ahead of a competition, although a little strange, is really nice.

“I definitely want to step things up from my first couple of comps of the season. I felt I threw really well in Whanganui and then at Capital I had all this juice but I had no idea what to do with it. I was like a deer caught in the headlights. I feel ready to throw a lot further at ITM and anything from 21.50m to 22m would be a pass mark.”

In recent weeks he has switched from a heavier to a lighter training mode with the emphasis on power rather than pure speed. Tom feels fresher and sharper and he hopes this will be reflected in the quality of his performance in Christchurch.

“I’m happy with how the off-season went,” explains Tom, who next month will seek a 14th successive national shot title at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington. “We made some decent technical changes in the circle, particularly towards the back of the circle, and technically I’m really pleased with where I’m at. My strength and power are good too, so it is just a case of marrying that all up and putting that horsepower through the ball.”

With a personal best more than three-and-half metres superior to the best of the opposition he faces at ITM he starts an overwhelming favourite to extend his unbeaten sequence of results for the season. Encouragingly, two of those Kiwi rivals tomorrow – Nick Palmer and Liam Ngchok-Wulf – are in great form having both posted PB’s this season – however given the clear quality gap how does Tom motivate himself for such competitions?

“Nick and Liam have been throwing really well, and they will want to keep that going. But motivation can be a bit more temperamental for a meet like this. I probably twist and tweak the narrative to get the most out of myself. I know I compete better with competition, but if I can throw well without that same level of competition then it is very good thing for me later in the year.”