7 Aug 2017

Beers and burgers for NZ shot put world champion

1:38 pm on 7 August 2017

New shot put world champion Tom Walsh will have a few pints and a burger to celebrate his world title.

Tom Walsh shot put world champion.

Tom Walsh's shot put victory makes him the first New Zealand male athlete to win a title at the world track and field championships. Photo: Photosport

Walsh, from Timaru, is the first New Zealand male athlete to win a title at the world track and field championships. He won the gold medal this morning in London.

The 25-year-old told RNZ he hadn't allowed himself to think he had the prize in the bag until his very last throw.

Walsh led for most of the competition, but his final throw was his best and sealed the win.

He threw 22.03m to finish 37cm ahead of American Joe Kovacs - the defending world champion and Olympic silver medallist.

Kovacs appeared to have snatched the lead off Walsh with his final throw but it was ruled a foul.

He appealed the decision, and Walsh was made to wait almost two hours before learning the appeal had been rejected and he officially remained the winner.

"It was a weird hour and a half not knowing if it was a 'yes' or a 'no'. But he was well within his rights to do it and I would have done the same thing," Walsh said.

Tom Walsh embraces his dad Peter after winning the shot put world title in London.

The 25-year-old embraces his dad, Peter, after his win in London. Photo: Photosport

As the competition wore on, Walsh said he simply kept urging himself to throw further.

"I was still trying to stick to my processes and with the things that work for me and really try and get behind one."

Walsh said he was surprised Olympic world champion Ryan Crouser, also from the United States, and Kovacs hadn't managed to find the form they were capable of.

"Everyone threw okay, but I guess that's the thing about the big stage, it puts pressure on you that Diamond League type competitions don't.

"But I went into that circle not thinking I had it won on any throw, and I just wanted to keep throwing further, and it paid off with the last throw."

Walsh's win was all the more remarkable given that he suffered a groin injury at training only a couple of days ago. He said he was still pretty sore.

"It was a great build-up until the very last training session and then there was a little bit of panic, but we managed it really well."

Walsh was planning to celebrate his victory with family and friends at a London pub, where he was looking forward to "a few pints and a burger or steak ... as I'm feeling pretty bit toey for a feed".

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