The New Zealand sporting public deserve to see more of shot put heavyweights Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill competing against each other and both athletes are open to the idea.

Walsh edged Gill during the final day of the New Zealand Track and Field Championships in Wellington yesterday during one of the most enthralling duels of the event.

The victory was sealed with Walsh's first put of 20.73m, which booked his sixth-straight national title, while Gill's best was 20.33m. Marcus Hayward finished third with 16.74m.

Walsh and Gill are polar opposites in personality. Walsh is the 23-year-old builder from Timaru who chats away like a mate you've met at the pub for a beer, while Gill, 20, is the highly-credentialed junior sensation who blitzed allcomers as a teenager.


They've progressed to the senior ranks with eyes on Olympic glory but they rarely compete on the same field.

Yesterday's battle marked the first time they'd crossed paths since last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Both have entered various meetings in New Zealand recently but continually avoided each other - whether that was by luck or design remains to be seen.

After taking the silver medal yesterday, Gill said he welcomed the opportunity to square off with Walsh.

"I love competing against Tom and there's going to be some good battles in the years to come," Gill said. "I really, really want to beat him. it would be good to get the win."

Aside from a national title, Walsh's 20.73m put was good enough to punch his card for August's world championships in Beijing. Gill beat the world championships qualifying mark of 20.45m with a 20.58m effort in Auckland last month.

Walsh, who will compete in Melbourne in two weeks before returning to the building site for a month, wanted the chance to meet Gill more often.

"It would be awesome to have Jacko at 90 per cent of the comps. But he's got his own plan and I've got my own plan and if it doesn't work in with his, it's just the way it is," Walsh said. "But hopefully, next year, we get to throw against each other a bit more."

In yesterday's other highlights, Nikki Hamblin produced a powerful sprint in the final stages to win the women's 1500m race in 4m 12.02s. Camille Buscomb (4m 13.8s) was second, while Rosa Flanagan (4m 14.19s) was third.


Olympian Nick Willis showed his class as he breezed home in the men's 1500m in 3m 50.9s, while Julian Matthews claimed second in 3m 52.86s and Wellington's Tim Cornish (3m 53.57s) ran third.