Kiwi shotputter Walsh claims gold in Melbourne

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 22:46 22/03/2014
Tom Walsh
DEAN KOZANIC/ Fairfax NZ
SHOT BRO: Kiwi shot put thrower Tom Walsh finished third at the IAAF's Glasgow competition.

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New Zealand's Tom Walsh flexed his muscles ahead of a much-anticipated showdown with shot put rival Jacko Gill at the national athletics championships in Wellington next weekend by comfortably winning his event at the IAAF World Challenge meet in Melbourne tonight.

Walsh, who had already exceeded the nomination standard required for July's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when he finished third at this month's World Indoor Championships in Poland, claimed gold with a best throw 21.16-metres.

He was 10cm short of the distance he recorded in Poland but it was still a useful tune-up for the Cantabrian - his closest challenger at the Lakeside Stadium was Australian Damien Birkenhead (19.31m).

Predictably the women's competition was also a one-sided affair as two-time Olympic champion Valerie Adams effortlessly notched her 44 consecutive win.

Adams obliterated her rivals without needing to extend herself - her top effort of 19.68m was well short of her meet record (20.13m in 2011) but still streets ahead of second placed Australian Kim Mulhall's best of 15.05m.

While Walsh and Adams are on track for Glasgow, lesser known Kiwi hopefuls were unable to press their claims although Michael Cochrane went desperately close to recording a Commonwealth Games B standard (49.70secs) when he won the 400m hurdles in 49.74secs.

Rosa Flanagan shaved a massive 10secs of her personal best in the women's 3000m steeplechase when she finished a close second to Australia's Victoria Mitchell though her time of 9min56.97secs was almost 6secs slower than Athletics New Zealand's B standard needed to be considered for Glasgow.

High jumpers Sarah Cowley and Liz Lamb were both 8cm short of the B standard when finishing fifth and eighth respectively with clearances of 1.80m and the women's 1500m was also a disappointing exercise.

Aiming for to finish inside the B standard time of 4min 09secs, Nikki Hamblin, the national record holder and silver medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi finished sixth in 4min 14.19secs.

Lucy Van Dalen, who represented New Zealand at the London Olympics in 2012, was a distant 11th (4min 20.18secs) in her first competitive 1500m since the New Zealand nationals a year ago. Fellow Kiwi Camille Buscomb was 10th (4min 18.88secs).

Meanwhile, Hamish Carson and Malcolm Hicks made the third rung of the podium in the 1500m and 5000m respectively.

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- Fairfax Media

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