Walsh set for shot put showdown
Tom Walsh is carrying record-setting form into his long-awaited showdown with shot put rival Jacko Gill at the the New Zealand athletics championships in Wellington after exceeding his national outdoor record when blitzing his rivals at the IAAF World Challenge in Melbourne last night.
Fresh from his bronze medal-winning exploits at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, earlier this month, the 22-year-old Cantabrian added 55cm to record with a dominant throw of 21.16m.
Walsh, who also set the previous New Zealand record at Melbourne's Lakeside Stadium, is now ranked second on the IAAF outdoor rankings for 2014 - a positive sign ahead of this weekend's encounter with 19-year-old Gill.
"I'm happy to back up my performance at World Indoors with another 21m throw," he said.
"It was a good series and I knew there was more to come because I had a couple of throws in the 20.40m and 20.50m range early in the comp, which weren't technically that good."
Walsh had flown to Melbourne from Poland and benefited from 10 days training before obliterating the field - Australian Damien Birkenhead was his closest challenger with a best of 19.31m.
As expected Valerie Adams reigned supreme in the women's shot put, racking up her 45th consecutive victory despite being fatigued from a long journey from Poland.
The two-time Olympic champion timed her arrival into Melbourne later than Walsh and was still jaded - not that another win was ever in doubt.
A second round throw of 19.68m was her best effort as Adams extended an unbeaten sequence that stretches back to August 2010.
"It was one of my worst competitions for a while but a win's a win," she admitted.
Michael Cochrane secured the Kiwi contingent's third gold but was just 0.04secs short of the Commonwealth Games B standard for Glasgow in the 400m hurdles.
The 22-year-old from, who was just 0.02secs adrift of the Athletics NZ standard in Perth last month, clocked 49.74secs and was bullish about making the necessary improvements in Wellington.
"I was drawn out in lane six and went out way too fast. It was far from the perfect race but I had the energy to bring it home," he said.
"I'll get it (the B standard) next time."
Meanwhile, Rosa Flanagan's record-breaking season continued as she shaved almost 10secs seconds from her 3000m steeplechase personal best to become the fastest ever Kiwi under-20 athlete for the event.
The 18-year-old from Christchurch won the Australian junior title in 10:06.87 and smashed that record with a stunning 9:56.97 earning the silver - although she is still short of the B standard for Glasgow.
Other Kiwis medallists were Hamish Carson and Malcom Hicks, who were third in the 1500m and 5000m respectively.
New Zealand results:
800m: Brad Mathas 1min 52.71 sec, 9th.
1500m: Hamish Carson 3:42.83, 3rd
5000m: Malcolm Hicks 13:47.21, 3rd
400m hurdles: Michael Cochrane 49.74secs, 1st Daniel O'Shea NZL50.57, 4th; Cameron French NZL 51.76, 5th
Shot Put: Tom Walsh 21.16m, 1st.
1500m: Nikki Hamblin 4:14.19, 6th; Camille Buscomb 4:18.88, 10th; Lucy Van Dalen 4:20.18, 11th
110m hurdles: Fiona Morrison 13.54secs, 4th.
3000m steeplechase: Rosa Flanagan 9:56.97, 2nd; Sarah McSweeney 10:27.01, 5th
High Jump: Sarah Cowley 1.80m 5th, Liz Lamb 1.80m, 7th
Triple Jump: Nneka Okpala 12.28m, 6th
Shot Put: Valerie Adams 19.68m, 1st.