Tom Walsh believes he's in the best possible shape to challenge Ryan Crouser's dominance of international men's shot putting this season.
The 30-year-old tuned up for his opening Diamond League meet this weekend in Oregon with a throw of 21.60 metres in winning the USATF Throws Festival meet in Tucson Arizona on Sunday.
The double Olympic Bronze medallist has spent the past two months training ahead of the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene this Sunday, where he will come face-to-face with Olympic and world record holder Crouser for the first time since last year.
American Joe Kovacs, the Olympic silver medallist and World Indoor champion, and Brazilian Darian Romani are also on the start list this weekend.
Walsh, who struggled to get to anywhere near his best form post-Tokyo Olympics last season, is in a positive frame of mind ahead of what shapes as a busy few weeks.
"I had two really good throws Tucson, which was my first comp for a couple of months and it feels pretty close," Walsh told the Herald.
His personal best is 22.90m during the 2019 World Championships, and while that mark might still be some way off for the Cantabrian, he knows he will have to throw well over 22m to be in a with a shot on Sunday.
"Yeah, I think there's no doubt you'll need to throw well into the 22s to even have a decent crack. We've been working a lot on direction in the throw and also freedom. I throw really well when I'm free and not trying to throw far," Walsh said.
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"That's been working really well. But also, it's really important to get all the horsepower that you've got in a straight line and into the ball. When I'm on that's what I do really well. And that's been a big work on over the last six months, to be honest."
Walsh feels in a good spot physically as he prepares for four meets in the next three weeks: Eugene this weekend, Ostrava (Czech Republic) three days later, before two meets in Poland.
"[I've felt good] in terms of some of the gym power numbers and things like that, speed and stuff around where I have been before, and I've still got a bit of time up the sleeve to move them even more," Walsh said. "So that's really I feel like I've got my mojo back a little bit with my throwing over the last two months. So that's a really nice feeling to have, because it's been a long time between drinks."
The World Track and Field Championships are held at the same venue in Eugene from the 15th to 24th of July before Walsh heads to Birmingham to defend his Commonwealth Games title.
Walsh will return from the European meets in early June to his base in Athens, Georgia, to build up for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games which follow.
"There's no doubt that I can hold my peak and hold my form between those two comps and even further so that's not really an issue. World Champs is the one that we've got more focus on because it's the first one up, and when I take care of business there, that makes Commonwealth Games even easier."