News & Updates

18 September 2023 • Track and Field

Walsh fires out second best career distance to clinch Diamond League podium

Tom Walsh produced a season's best performance to clinch a podium at the Diamond League Final in Eugene. Credit (Getty Images).

Tom Walsh unleashed the second longest mark of his career with a mighty heave of 22.69m to finish third in an epic shot put competition on day two of the Diamond League Final in Eugene, Oregon this morning.

The 31-year-old Kiwi put together an outstanding series with four 22m plus throws but ultimately had to concede defeat to the US shot put giants Joe Kovacs and Ryan Crouser – with the former claiming a shock 2cm victory from the world and Olympic shot put champion courtesy of a season’s best effort of 22.93m.

Walsh, who has been in excellent recent form after a 22.46 effort to win in Zagreb earlier this month, opened his quest for a handy 21.99m to sit third after round one as Kovacs with a 22.70m throw took control of the competition from Crouser (22.42m).

In round two, Walsh powered out his season’s best mark of 22.69m – within 21cm of his PB set at the 2019 World Championships in Doha – but still sat third as Crouser, the world record-holder, launched out a 22.91m put to take the lead.

The Kiwi maintained a high level of consistency with an excellent 22.31m in round three before delivering a 21.71m in round four – the stanza which saw Kovacs hurl his mighty winning toss of 22.93m.

Walsh continued his world-class series with a 22.15m throw in round five followed by a 22.40m with his final throw but could not quite get on terms with the two US athletes. Crouser unfurled a 22.86m effort in the final round but could not surpass Kovacs, the 2019 world champion.

Articulating his thoughts on finishing third with the second best throw of his career in one of the greatest shot put competitions in history Walsh said: “That’s how men’s shot put is at the moment, especially at the big dance you have to throw a long way. I’m really happy with my series and how I’ve finished the season but I’m also a little bit frustrated today because I didn’t quite get hold of one, I got really close but there are definitely some good signs, that’s for sure.

“I didn’t go as well as I would have liked at worlds (when he placed fourth in Budapest) as I got a bit tight and short on the throws. Today I gave myself more time in the circle and some freedom which was important for me. Hopefully I’m always learning from comps and that is the takeaway from world champs. I knew that I needed to address (being short and tight on the throws) that in the last three of four comps of the year and cash in some of those chips that we’ve built up as a team over the past six months and I managed to do that.”

New Zealand enjoyed a memorable Diamond League Final banking three podium finishes with Walsh joining Tori Peeters (second in the women’s javelin) and George Beamish (third in the men’s 3000m steeplechase), who achieved top three placings on day one at Hayward Field.

Results go here