News & Updates

11 March 2023 • Track and Field

Tom Walsh set for Jacko Gill shot put re-match at Trusts Arena

Tom Walsh hopes to avenge his defeat to Jacko Gill at nationals when the two come face to face at the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co. Credit: (Alisha Lovrich).

Double Olympic shot put bronze medallist Tom Walsh will compete at the 2023 Sir Graeme Douglas International Presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co in West Auckland next Thursday (16 March), where he will get the opportunity to avenge his defeat to rival Jacko Gill at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington last weekend.

Walsh had originally planned to end his season after his outing in the capital, but after Gill ended his 13-year reign as national champion he has opted to compete at the Trusts Arena in an effort to produce a much-improved performance.

At Newtown Park, Gill, the Commonwealth silver medallist, was in terrific form, powering the 7.26kg shot out to 21.80m – the second best performance of his career – while a below par Walsh had to settle for a best of 21.25m.

“I was very disappointed with my performance in Wellington,” said Walsh. “I went into nationals hoping to win, and to throw poorly and for Jacko to win that comp unchallenged was very frustrating,” said Walsh.

“I didn’t handle the pressure very well at nationals. It is the top six inches that make the difference, and by competing up in Auckland I hope to handle that pressure better this time around.”

Walsh, the Commonwealth champion, does not plan to alter his training plans to compete specifically at this meet and will take on a week of heavy lifting as intended.

However, he refuses to be too downcast about the season as a whole and believes with a season’s best of 21.80m, recorded in Christchurch in mid-February, his longest throw in New Zealand for five years ago, he can look back with satisfaction on his domestic campaign so far.

“Looking at the season as a whole, apart from one meet (nationals), it has gone really well. I need to think of the big picture, and I want to be at my peak at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August. Having said that, Sir Graeme Douglas is another chance to compete under pressure and I’m looking forward to see how I can handle it.”

Walsh is also relishing competing at a meeting, where five years ago he fired out his monster New Zealand resident record of 22.67m.

So what does he want to achieve on Thursday evening in Auckland?

“I would like to move loosely and freely”, he added. “I didn’t do that in Wellington. I did that reasonably well in Christchurch (when I threw 21.80m) and I hope to find a way of figuring out how to get into that mindset.

“The Sir Graeme Douglas is one of the big meets in New Zealand, it’s a good circle, close to the crowd and I know Jacko is in good shape and will want to throw far again. But it has been a happy hunting ground for me in the past, and I just hope to manage any stresses and thrive in that environment.”

Tom Walsh will take on Jacko Gill in the men’s shot put from 6.15pm on Thursday (16 March).

***For an updated timetable go here

***For updated entry lists go here

***Buy tickets here

***All the action will be livestreamed on the Athletics NZ YouTube channel