5 Mar 2018

Walsh wins gold, McCartney just misses medal

6:29 am on 5 March 2018

Tom Walsh has confirmed his place on the top of the shot putting world after the New Zealand athlete retained his World Indoor Championships title with a record-breaking performance.

World champion New Zealand shot putter Tom Walsh.

World champion New Zealand shot putter Tom Walsh. Photo: Photosport NZ

Having twice thrown 22.13m in the early rounds, Walsh had the gold medal secure as he stepped into the circle for his final attempt.

With the pressure off, the 26-year-old from Timaru then hurled the shot out a further 18cm for a championship, Oceania record and New Zealand record distance of 22.31m.

There was also new records for New Zealand pole vaulter Eliza McCartney, who narrowly missed out on a medal with a fourth-place finish but still managed a new best Oceania and New Zealand mark of 4.75m in the process.

It was a commendable effort as the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist continued her return from an injury layoff.

Walsh's dominant victory means has won the last three world shot put titles contested - the 2016 Indoor, 2017 Outdoor and 2018 Indoor Championships, and further strengthens his favouritism heading into next month's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Walsh won by the wide margin of 0.87m, almost identical to his winning margin of 0.89m at the previous Indoor World Championships in Portland, USA two years ago.

Walsh's throw, just two days after his 26th birthday, added 10cm to his New Zealand and Oceania record and was 7cm further than the previous championship record of 22.24m set by Ulf Timmermann of East Germany 31 years ago.

Germany's David Storl finished second with 21.44m, the former two-time indoor world champion claiming silver on countback from Tomas Stanek of the Czech Republic.

Seven athletes threw more than 21m in the competition, the most for any indoor shot put event in history.

Eliza McCartney.

Eliza McCartney. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Meanwhile, McCartney didn't quite have enough to add a second medal for New Zealand at the championships but still performed well considering her circumstances.

The 21-year-old from Auckland battled an achilles injury for the majority of 2017 and only made a late decision to travel to the UK to take part in the world indoors after an impressive clearance of 4.70m at her first event back in Hastings at the end of January.

McCartney was then unable to register a height at the Australian Championships, meaning expectations weren't as high as they might have been.

After missing with her first attempt of the competition at 4.50m, McCartney cleared on her second try and then went over first time at 4.60m.

She needed her third and final vault to get past 4.70m but nailed her first crack at 4.75m before being unable to match her three remaining rivals at 4.80m.