Just one centimetre separated the three medal winners in the Men's Shot at the IAAF World Championships which must be the closest margin of any event at the championships.

Sadly, New Zealander Tom Walsh was the one who had to settle for bronze. His stunning opening trial of 22.90 was a huge personal best, New Zealand and Oceania record and the world leader for 2019 and at the time the fourth-best put of all time.

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In true Walsh fashion, he tried to better this on subsequent trials and fouled narrowly on each occasion. In the final round, he was bettered first by Joe Kovacs (USA) (22.91) followed by a 22.90 throw by from Ryan Crouser (USA) (22.90) relegating Walsh to third on a countback.


Walsh put everything into his last effort but had to settle along with Crouse for the fifth equal best put of all time. He and we can't wait for next year's Olympics. It had been a stunning climax to a great year for the event.

"It is the little things that are vital. Little things make big things happen" is a major theme of a pre-season camp I am involved with for the next few days in Tauranga. The championships provided countless examples of small margins.

The camp is designed to kick start the new season that commences at club night next Tuesday at Cooks Gardens at 7pm with the C Programme (60m,150m, 300m, 600m, 2000m Road, Long Jump. Shot).

At camp athletes will be looking at goals and planning for the season ahead, especially the challenges of balancing training, competition and the vital academic NCEA exam programme. Benjamin Franklin summed it up well, "if you fail to plan you are planning to fail".

Athletes who watched the IAAF Championships could not fail to be inspired. The opening days were good, the final days outstanding and at last there was a larger and more vociferous audience to see the action unfold.

It was great to see a global 1500metres that was run from the front by a world leader who laid down the gauntlet right from the start rather than the usual slow tactical battle of recent global events.

The men's and women's 400 metres saw outstanding races with world leading performances. The women's 400 metre hurdles was an outstanding race which went right to the wire. The heptathlon provided a new star with the UK's Katerina Johnston-Thompson producing four personal best in her seven events to take the championship from the titleholder and Olympic Champion Nafi Thiam (Belgium) with a performance that lifts her to fourth in the all-time list.

KJT has clearly worked on her throws in France which has become her training base. The UK has a new superstar.


Former Whanganui athlete Max Attwell, who was just one place shy of medals at the Universiade in Naples, will have watched with interest and hopefully been inspired as he works on his weaker areas.

In the men's decathlon Niklas Kaus (Germany) threw the javelin to a world decathlon best (79.08) bringing him to third which he promoted to gold following an outstanding 1500m in the next and final event.

The home crowd were treated to a fantastic comeback from Mutal Essa Barshim, who a year back was seriously injured requiring surgery. He added centimetres to his season's best to win with a superb 2.37 metre leap to take Qatar's first gold. I am sure Attwell's coach and former New Zealand high jump champion and New Zealand decathlon representative, Terry Lomax, will have enjoyed the action in Doha where he is with the New Zealand team.

From a New Zealand perspective, it is easy to forget in the excitement that Jacko Gill, on his return from illness, has had a great season after finishing 7th and at 24 this former world junior champion is ready to join the big boys in Tokyo next year.

It was great to see Camille Buscomb, who set a huge 19sec personal best in the 5000 metre heats to qualify for the final and take another 3 seconds off to finish 12th in a highly competitive final.

The global nature of the sport was evident with close to 200 countries involved and no less than 43 (44 if the Authorized Neutral athletes [ANA] from Russia are included) appeared on the final medal table.

It is interesting to note how well counties such as Poland, Japan, Switzerland did in relays reminding athletes of the importance that good training and technique can go far which should inspire New Zealand sprinters including our own at camp as they prepare to defend New Zealand Schools relay titles.