14 Jun 2015

Diamond podiums for Willis and Walsh

2:44 pm on 14 June 2015

The New Zealand Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis has placed second in the 5000 metres while Timaru's Tom Walsh was third in the shot put at a Diamond League meet in New York.

Willis, who's Olympic success in 2008 came over 1500 metres, still claims to be a novice over the longer 12.5 lap distance.

Nick Willis celebrates winning a bronze medal in the 1500m men's final. 
Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014.

Nick Willis celebrates winning a bronze medal in the 1500m men's final. Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014. Photo: Photosport

But in his first Diamond League race of the year, Wills finished just 0.3 seconds behind the winner Ben True of America in a time of 13min 29.78 seconds.

The New Zealander crossed the line ahead of many well-performed African and European athletes including Thomas Longosiwa from Kenya who won the previous Diamond League 5000 metre race in Birmingham.

Willis ran at the back of the field for the first five laps before moving up to the middle of the field and then joining the leading bunch when the pace went on over the final kilometre.

Placed sixth with a lap to go, the Upper Hutt athlete made a bold move at Icahn Stadium and hit the front with 100 metres to run, before True caught him in the closing stages.

While the hot, blustery conditions were not conducive to fast times, Willis' run will give him a lot of confidence heading into to the Beijing World Championships in late August.

In the shot put at New York, Timaru's Tom Walsh came third with a throw of 21.16 metres.

Tom Walsh 16x10

Tom Walsh 16x10 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The competition was won by American Joe Kovacs with 21.67.

Walsh's best throw came in the second round which he followed up with 21.12 with his final put.

With three throws over 21 metres, Walsh was impressive in finishing ahead of two former world champions, the Commonwealth champion and the World indoor champion.

Meanwhile, Angie Petty (nee Smit) has won the 1500 metres at the Le Chéile International meeting in Ireland.

Her time of 4:08.54 is a personal best by over 3 seconds and moved her to number five on the national all-time list.

Angie Petty (nee Smit)

Angie Petty (nee Smit) Photo: PHOTOSPORT