News & Updates

16 March 2022 • Track and Field

Tom Walsh seeks World Indoor hat-trick in Belgrade

Tom Walsh in action at the 2022 Jennian Homes New Zealand Championships where he secured a 13th successive national shot put title. (Credit: Alisha Lovrich).

New Zealand shot put star Tom Walsh is hunting a hat-trick of World Indoor titles in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday morning (NZ time) and believes he can defeat Ryan Crouser – one of the global superstars of the sport – enroute to gold.

The giant 29-year-old American is unbeaten since winning silver at the 2019 World Championships and last year enjoyed the best season of his career, erasing the 31-year-old world shot put record with a monster throw of 23.37m and also mounting a successful defence of his Olympic title.

Many regard defeating Crouser as one of the toughest challenges in the sport, but this is not a view shared by Tom who has defeated the American in the past – most notably to win the 2017 world outdoor title in London – and he insists he has the tools to do so again in Serbia.

“I’m sick and tired of finishing second (to Crouser),” said Tom. “Some people will admit Ryan Crouser is too good for them, but I don’t believe that. I know I have been in 23.30m shape before and I can get there again, it is just about fine-tuning the throwing and figuring it out.”

Tom, who has been working with a new coach, Hayden Hall, since late-2021 enjoyed an unbeaten domestic campaign highlighted by a 21.55m throw to secure a 13th successive national men’s shot put title in Hastings.

He describes his New Zealand season as positive and adds he was happy with some of the technical changes he implemented through November-January.

“The technical changes were good and have held up, but there were not going to make me throw the shot put far by concentrating on them during competitions. I now need to forget about them (the technical changes) and get into a more aggressive mindset. I didn’t throw what I am probably worth during the New Zealand season.”

Since winning nationals, Tom has been based in Athens, Georgia – a familiar training setting in past years for the Kiwi – where he has stepped up his preparations for Belgrade.

Significantly he believes he has come on “leaps and bounds” during his time in the US and believes he is peaking at the right time for his biggest competition since winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“I’m feeling pretty good we have based the whole season on being in PB shape in Belgrade,” he adds. “My numbers in the gym, with jumping, running and power cleans are all around my PB. Physically I’m in great nick. I just sometimes struggle to apply it all into the shot put – that is the challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”

Tom will be in action on Sunday morning at 7.40am (NZ time) for his final of the men’s shot for what will be his fourth tilt at a World Athletics Indoor Championships – an event where previously he has enjoyed so much success.

On his World Indoor debut in Sopot 2014 he announced himself as a world-class athlete, winning a breakthrough bronze medal and he has since thrived in the intimate and atmospheric indoor environment, banking successive World Indoor titles in Portland 2016 and Birmingham 2018, where he set a championship record of 22.31m.

“I love how close the fans are in indoor competition,” he says. “My personal belief is indoor meets should be promoted more. It gives the competition more of a basketball feel than a rugby feel. I like the fact the spectators and on top of the athletes – I love the energy I get from the crowd.”

*Tom is one of five Kiwis in action at the World Athletics Indoor Championships.

The full Kiwi schedule is below

Friday 18 March-Saturday 19 March (all times NZ)

10.15pm – Women’s 60m heats – Zoe Hobbs

1.30am – Men’s 3000m heats – Geordie Beamish

Saturday 19 March

6.10am – Women’s 60m semi-finals – Zoe Hobbs (TBC)

8.55am – Women’s 60m final – Zoe Hobbs (TBC)

Sunday 20 March

6.05am – Women’s pole vault final – Olivia McTaggart

7.40am – Men’s shot put final – Tom Walsh

10.45pm – Men’s high jump final – Hamish Kerr

12.05am (Monday) – Men’s 3000m final – Geordie Beamish

How to Watch

All the action will take place on Sky Sport 9 starting with the first session on Friday 18 March from 9.25pm (NZ time)

Other sessions on Sky Sport 9

Saturday 19 March – Day 1 afternoon – from 5.20am (NZ time)

Saturday 19 March – Day 2 morning – from 9.20pm (NZ time)

Sunday 20 March – Day 2 afternoon – from 5.30am (NZ time)

Sunday 20 March – Day 3 morning – from 9.55pm (NZ time)

Monday 21 March – Day 3 afternoon – from 4.35am (NZ time)

Full World Indoor timetable here

Full World Indoor entry list by event here

*Athletics NZ will also be providing regular updates of the action via our website and social media channels.