Tom Walsh wins silver in Games shot put
A glassy-eyed Tom Walsh rued a slightly off-night and a "big bomb" from Jamaican O'Dayne Richards as he had to settle for Commonwealth Games silver.
The New Zealand gold medal favourite, who was top qualifier yesterday, wasn't good enough today for victory in the men's shot put final on a warm evening at Hampden Park.
The big Jamaican stunned Walsh with a career-best throw of 21.61m with his fourth attempt - exactly half a metre than his previous personal best.
Walsh was consistent throughout the final, with all throws in the late-20m, early-21m range.
His best effort, also on his fourth throw, was 21.19m, just shy of his career best of 21.26m.
He must have seen the writing on the wall after Richards' sensational fourth attempt, which nobody saw coming.
To his credit, Walsh held his head high despite the obvious disappointment and applauded the crowd before leaving the arena.
"Obviously I wanted the gold but I'll definitely take the silver. It was a massive throw by O'Dayne. I thought I had it in me but these things happen. I tried my best out there and everything I've done this year is pretty good," said Walsh, who announced himself on the world stage with a bronze medal at the world indoor champs.
"He [Richards] threw the big bomb before I threw the big bomb. I thought it might have been close to a PB. I knew I had it in me, I never thought it was out of my reach."
Richards, who qualified in second spot yesterday, laid down an early marker with a 20.94m throw which Walsh fell 21cm short of in his first attempt.
But the 22-year-old builder from Canterbury wound up and edged ahead by the smallest of margins with his second throw, hurling 20.96m.
He had his nose in front until Richards' whopping fourth throw, which killed off hopes of a New Zealand shot put golden double at these Games, with Val Adams almost certain to win the women's shot put on Thursday.
Walsh had his parents, brother Bill and a few mates in the big crowd at Hampden, and admitted he wasn't at his best.
"I was still missing it a wee bit; just rushing it. It's a tough one to look back on right now. If I had the timing that I had yesterday and the calmness I had yesterday it probably would have been pretty close.
"Today I got a little more tense as the competition went through and the pressure went on."
It wasn't a good day for the Kiwi men, with Jacko Gill failing to fire in the final.
His first throw was a no throw and he could only muster feeble efforts of 16.70m and 18.05m with his second and third attempts. The 19-year-old junior star missed the cut for the top eight and was forced to leave the arena after three throws.
Gill had qualified fourth, with a throw of 19.54m yesterday.
He recently threw 20.70m in the Cook Islands. That would have been good for bronze today; instead third place on the podium went to Canadian Tim Nedow with 20.59m.