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Tom Walsh wasted no time in asserting his dominance over the Commonwealth Games men’s shot put field today.

The big man from Timaru stepped up for his first throw in qualifying and hammered out a 22.45m effort, which broke the Games record. It actually wasn’t far off his sensational personal best throw of 22.67m, achieved last month.

Having ticked off his goal of qualifying for tomorrow’s final, Walsh was off. He needed only 19m, but there’s nothing like making your point.

Afterwards he laughed when asked how he felt breaking the Games record in qualifying. “The last time I did that was in Glasgow [in 2014] and I didn’t win. I hope that doesn’t happen here,” he said.

Walsh is a huge figure – metaphorically as well as physically – in world athletics. It has been a sudden rise for the 26-year-old.

In Glasgow in 2014 he was a silver medallist. In Rio at the 2016 Olympics, he was a bronze medallist. He was fourth in the 2015 world champs. He really only broke through last year when he won his first outdoor world title.

He said it was very satisfying to have posted such a big effort. “There are probably only about 10 guys ever who have thrown that far. It feels really good.”

Asked how he would prepare for the final, he was characteristically low-key: “Food, sleep, maybe some Netflix.”

Gold Coast 2018 Glasgow 2014 Rio 2016 Commonwealth Games Olympic Summer Games Tom Walsh Athletics
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