14 Mar 2018

Walsh wants to win at home

5:55 am on 14 March 2018

New Zealand's world champion shot putter Tom Walsh has invited some of the best shot putters in the world to a competition in his home town of Timaru.

New Zealand shot put star Tom Walsh

New Zealand shot put star Tom Walsh Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2017 / Alisha Lovrich

The big men of track and field will be in action at the Caroline Bay Soundshell in Timaru this evening and the local boy is determined that none of them will beat him on his home turf.

The international men's shot put will include current Commonwealth Games champion, O'Dayne Richards, with a personal best of 21.96m, from Jamaica, who beat Walsh four years ago in Glasgow and the two-times world indoor champion (before Walsh took over) Ryan Whiting from the USA. Whiting, who has a best of 22.28m, recently won the US Indoor Championships and was a finalist at the recent World Indoor Champs.

Also in the field will be Konrad Bukowieki from Poland. He is the current world junior champion and has a best of 22.00m set last month.

Tim Nedow from Canada, winner of the bronze at Glasgow Commonwealth Games, with a personal best of 21.33 will be in the field, as will Australia's best, Damien Birkinhead who holds the Australian record at 21.35m.

They will all be trying to deny Walsh the victory on his own patch, but the 26 year old Olympic bronze medallist will be no push-over with his recent New Zealand record of 22.31m in Birmingham at the World Indoor Championships less than two weeks ago.

Hometown hero Walsh, the winner of the Halberg Awards Sportsman of the Year for 2017 will be using the event to sharpen for the Commonwealth Games next month, one of the few titles that has eluded him - the other being the Olympic gold.

There's a good chance that the three Commonwealth Games men's shot put medallists on the Gold Coast on 9 April will have been strutting their stuff in Timaru.

The Timaru Super Shot is part of a series of pre-Commonwealth Games international events in Timaru, Christchurch, Auckland and Waitakere. The Big Shot in Christchurch will be on Friday evening.