Shot Putter Tom Walsh has done it again. The Timaru builder took another huge stride on the international track & field stage yesterday, winning the shot put at the prestigious Zatopek Classic in Melbourne with another NZ record throw of 20.61m.
The big throw came in the 2nd round of the competition at the famous Melbourne meeting in Melbourne last night. It is also further than the Commonwealth Games A standard of 20.60 and well over the qualifying distance of 20.30 for the World Indoor championships in Poland in March.
Walsh, who broke Jacko Gill's previous national record of 20.38 with a throw of 20.45m at a low key meet in nearby Geelong on Saturday, was ecstatic to have taken the record to another level on a bigger stage.
"The Zatopek Classic is a big deal, so to have stepped up and delivered in front of a good crowd is a real buzz" Walsh said last night.
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Damien Birkinhead of Australia was second, with Robert Melin of Sweden in third.
This throw, particularly in such a high profile competition, has propelled Walsh to a ranking of 22nd in the world and fifth in the Commonwealth for 2013, and his throw in Melbourne would have placed him 10th at the London Olympics and 7th in the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
Walsh arrives back in New Zealand today, where he will return to some solid training and local competition, interspersed with his work as a builder and a bit of family time over Christmas, before looking ahead to international competitions next year.
In other events at the Zatopek meeting Aaron Pulford ran 29:07.33 for ninth place in the feature 10,000 Australian championships race, improving his personal best by seven seconds, set when he finished 5th at the world junior championships in 2010.
Young distance runners Matt Baxter (3rd 8:14.73), Ben Moynihan (4th 8:14.91) and Jacob Priddey (7th 8:24.37) all set personal best times.
Zara Macdermid finished fourth in the women's 1500m recording 4:27.09 and Mariah Ririnui also finished fourth in the women's 100 yards in 11.23.