1 Jun 2015

Walsh fourth in Eugene

12:43 pm on 1 June 2015

The Timaru shot putter Tom Walsh has come close to finishing in the top three at his first Diamond League competition for 2015.

Tom Walsh 16x10

Tom Walsh 16x10 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 23-year-old threw his best distance in the third round of the competition (20.81 metres) and kept hold of that position until the final round when his friend Ryan Whiting (USA) put in a 21.37 throw to snatch away the Diamond League point.

Ahead of the Whiting and Walsh, the two times world champion David Storl (Germany) and Joe Kovacs (USA) had a close battle to decide the winner with the American tossing a big 22.11 on the final throw of the contest ahead of the German's best of 21.92.

Walsh's fourth placing reflected his world ranking heading into the competition.

In the Diamond League 10,000 metres race, Zane Robertson, running his first-ever track race over the distance, decided not to duel it out with Mo Farah and the top Kenyans, and finished 18th with a very good time of 27 minutes 46.82 seconds, the seventh fastest ever by a New Zealander.

The 25-year-old Hamiltonian, now based in Ethiopia, ran a steady paced effort but will be disappointed with the time, agonisingly outside the world championships qualifying time of 27:45.00, and five seconds outside the New Zealand record held by Dick Quax.

Robertson will now hope that his time will be fast enough to get an invitation to the 10,000 metres at the world champs, but he's likely to try to qualify for the 5000 metres, the event in which he won the bronze medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Also in Eugene, the Pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie cleared an impressive 6.05 metres and Justin Gatlin ran the year's fastest 200 metres.

Only Sergei Bubka has vaulted higher outdoors than Lavillenie did.

Gatlin equalled his lifetime best over 200 with his run of 19.68 seconds.

The 33-year-old had clocked the year's fastest 100, a lifetime best 9.74 seconds, 15 days earlier in Doha.

There were eight other leading performances of the year in Eugene.

Ethiopian indoor world record holder Genzebe Dibaba ran the fifth fastest women's 5,000m ever (14:19.76) while London Olympic 400 gold medallist Kirani James also looked sharp, clocking an eye-catching and world leading 43.95 seconds.

Double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica won a high quality women's 100 in 10.81 seconds, the best time of 2015. World silver medallist Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast was second in the same time.

Qatari world indoor high jump winner Mutaz Essa Barshim (2.41m), Djibouti miler Ayanleh Souleiman (3:51.10), Kenyan Olympic and world steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi (8:01.71) and French high hurdler Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (13.06 seconds) also set the year's best marks.

Former world champion Tyson Gay drew a warm round of applause as he opened his season with a winning run of 9.88 seconds in the men's 100.

Allyson Felix, the Olympic 200 gold medallist, stepped up to the 400 and defeated London Games winner Sanya Richards-Ross.

Felix won in 50.05 seconds with Richards-Ross second in 50.29.