Published Tuesday 29 July 2014

Julia Ratcliffe and Tom Walsh picked up silver medals for New Zealand in the athletics stadium today.

Ratcliffe, who has just turned 21, continued her consistently good form in the women’s hammer throw to finish second behind Canadian Sultana Frizell.

After qualifying with a mark of 67.96m, Ratcliffe stepped it up in the final and her series of throws – 68.35m, 68.68m, 69.96m, 69.33m, 69.47m, followed by a foul – was excellent.

Frizell won with 71.97m and was in a class of her own, but Ratcliffe was clearly the next best.

The Waikato woman, who is studying economics at Princeton University, looks to have vast potential and clearly has a big-time temperament.

She said she had enjoyed the final and felt calm throughout. She was pleased her father Dave, her coach, was in the stadium to watch her.

Ratcliffe said that for a while she thought she might even win gold, but then told herself not too get too big for her britches. In the end she was delighted to take the silver.

Walsh, also making his debut at a major games, was a strong second in the men’s shot put.

After qualifying first and setting a Games record yesterday, the man from Timaru became the focus of a fair bit of attention.

He appeared unfazed during the final and had throws of 20.73m, 20.96m, 21.19m, 20.84 and a foul. The gold went to Jamaican O’Dayne Richards, who was well ahead with 21.61m.

Walsh, only 22, has been a quiet achiever of New Zealand sport, but his form over the past year marks him as an athlete of special ability.

Jacko Gill had a disappointing time of it in the shot put.

The Auckland 19-year-old qualified with an unremarkable 19.54m, and in the final could manage just 16.70m and 18.05m. He finished 11th.