He likes being introduced as "world champion"; now Tom Walsh is determined to show how the best perform to round off a stellar year.

The Timaru builder won the Diamond League meet in Birmingham yesterday, finding his touch after a "scratchy" start. To Walsh being the world's best also means having to deliver way.

He reached the shot put pinnacle at the world championships in London and insists he wants to show that was no fleeting success.

"My biggest worry today was not performing like a world champion," Walsh said.


"I wanted to prove I deserved to be world champion and I'm pleased that I did that. I got better as the competition went on. To throw that far with a slightly uphill throwing area is very encouraging."

Walsh won with a best effort of 21.83m, to hold off American rival, and Olympic champion Ryan Crouser, whose best was an opening 21.55m.

"To come back in last two throws and throw so well and correct what I was doing wrong in first four was really important to me. I came home strong and that's all you can ask for."

He admitted being introduced to the crowd as world champion "puts a huge smile on my face every time I hear it". Walsh, who is competing with a 7cm tear in his groin, confirmed he does not need surgery, and can get through his last two events for the year, in Zagreb at the world challenge on August 28, then at the Diamond League final in Brussels on September 1.

Crouser leads the Diamond League standings on 31 points with Walsh second on 22. But that doesn't matter this year, due to a change in format. The top eight throwers qualify for Brussels and then they all start from scratch.

"We could all win it on the day. Make the top eight and from that anyone can win," Walsh said. "There's a bunch of guys and that's why the men's shot put is so good. It's so competitive and you never know who is going to do it.

"I'm in really good shape because of how well I'm throwing and how consistent. It's more about keeping the mental side as fresh as I can.

"I just want to do what I did today, compete like a world champ and if I do that, I should be fine," he added.