Tom Walsh saved his best until last today - and by then he had world championship gold in his grasp.

Walsh bossed the shot put event in London, dominating qualifying and then proving himself conclusively the man of the moment.

Then, in a perfect piece of theatre, with the gold medal already secured, he heaved the stone out to his best distance of the night, 22.03 metres.

Call it a kind of 'take that' moment to his rivals. He jumped, whooped and hollered, and why not.


After all he's the first New Zealand man to get on a world championship podium, and only the third from this country since the worlds began in 1983.

Valerie Adams has won four shot put titles, and a silver; Beatrice Faumuina kicked it off with discus gold in 1987.

Walsh's beaming grin told it all.

Okay so the Olympic champion - and clearly the thrower to beat going in - American Ryan Crouser, was well off his best; so Joe Kovacs, his squat countryman protested against a marginal no throw decision, which would have given him the lead before Walsh's final throw, and was denied and had to settle for second.

It doesn't matter; you remember the final outcome, and Walsh the amiable 25-year-old builder from Timaru has had a day he'll never forget.

Rio and the Olympic bronze medal a year ago was a wonderful achievement, but top of the world? It gets no better.

It raises the old question of which matters more; Olympic or world championship success.
High Olympic achievement tends to be more easily remembered by those not particularly close to the sport. It's the one occasion every four years that 'outsiders' take notice. It sticks in the memory.

But ask the athletes and they'll generally maintain the worlds are the biggie. Olympic fields are often limited by numbers per country. At the worlds that's not the case.

So it's the best and it's about who is the best on a specific date the athletes have known for a year. It's like the old Scouts motto: Be Prepared.

No one was more prepared, no one took his chance better, than Walsh.