Tom Walsh ticks another box on road to world shot put domination

Gold medal winner Tom Walsh of New Zealand is flanked by bronze medalist Tim Nedow of Canada (left) and silver medalist Chukwuebuka Enekwechi of Nigeria. Getty Images

GOLD COAST, Australia -- World Championship: done. Commonwealth Games: complete. For New Zealand's shot-put champion Tom Walsh, there is now just one remaining piece of the medal puzzle: The Olympics.

The 26-year-old 120kg chunk of prime Timaru beef was far too good for his rivals in the final of the men's shot put at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast on Monday night, claiming gold with a throw of 21.41 metres.

That mark was slightly down on the Commonwealth Games record he'd set 24 hours earlier, but still good enough to add the title to the World Championship gold he won last year. With Valerie Adams dominating global shot put for many years, Walsh is ticking off the boxes for the Kiwi men.

"I'm getting used to doing those things, New Zealand hadn't had a men's shot put world title until I came along, indoors and outdoors, so pretty stoked to add another one to the tally," he said. "I'm only missing one now which is the Olympics Games, and that's another two years away.

"So I'm really happy with winning the gold and knocking that off; I didn't quite throw as well as I wanted too. I had one or two good throws out there, but I couldn't manage to stay in the circle. But at the end of the day, I came here to win gold and that's what I've done."

Walsh had set the Games record, 1.05m better than his best throw in the final, on Sunday, which left him a little disappointed in the fashion he claimed gold back at the same spot a day later. But there's a lessons to be taken from that, too, he said.

"I was just a little bit pushy today, trying a little bit too hard," Walsh told reporters. "I know when I try hard it never works, as I said I had two throws there that were a lot freer but I just couldn't stay in the circle. But it's good because when you win all the time, things are sugar-coated.

"So we can learn a little bit from this but we still managed to win, which is awesome."

Having taken gold at the 2017 World Championships in London and backed up that effort at the World Indoor Titles in Birmingham just a month out from the Commonwealth Games, Walsh's triumph on the Gold Coast means there is just one major shot put honour left to conquer: Olympic gold.

He'll have the chance to fine-tune his preparations for Tokyo over the next two years, which includes the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, next year, before he heads to Japan as a potentially raging hot favourite.

Then it's all about performing on the biggest stage of them all.

"I think I've got much more room for improvement, everywhere still," Walsh said looking ahead to Tokyo 2020. "For example, tonight, I was just a little bit off in the mental side of things. So when I can address that a little bit more -- I've been really good at that over the last few years -- so when I can address that and let loose, and let it move freely, I'll be fine."