27 Aug 2023

Wesche sets a lifetime best to finish seventh in shot final

10:50 am on 27 August 2023
Maddison Wesche of New Zealand

New Zealand shot put athlete Maddison Wesche at the 2022 World Athletics Championships. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand shot putter Maddi Wesche unleashed a lifetime best throw of 19.51m to finish seventh at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

After squeezing into the final in the 12th and last qualification berth earlier in the day, the 24-year-old Aucklander made the most of the opportunity to deliver the finest series of her career.

Opening her competition with a steady 18.81m the Kiwi sat seventh after round one but faced huge pressure on her third throw after she was shunted down to tenth following a second round foul.

Yet Wesche, regarded as one of New Zealand's calmest championship performers, withstood any pressure she may have been feeling to throw 19.47m to catapult herself to sixth in the overall standings.

Wesche then backed up her third round toss with a 19.41m throw in round four before executing her best of the competition in round five.

The Commonwealth bronze medallist was initially registered with a foul in the results, but this was later changed to a 19.51m - 1cm in excess of her previous best set at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.

American Chase Ealey with a season's best of 20.43m successfully defended her world title ahead of Commonwealth champion Sarah Mitton of Canada, who secured silver.

Lijiao Gong achieved a record-breaking eighth successive World Championship medal, courtesy of a 19.69m effort to claim bronze.

"I'm super proud of my result. I'm happy with a personal best. I always want for more distance but it's the name of the game and can't complain right now," Wesche said.

"The plan was to build on my throws from the qualifier and to add intensity, so I accomplished that. I thought there was a lot more in the tank and I didn't quite connect tonight unfortunately.

"I'm really confident leading into Paris [2024 Olympics]. There is thankfully still a bit of time to head home and make more gains, so I'm looking forward to that."

For Wesche this was a third successive top eight finish at a global championship after the Kiwi finished sixth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.