Hamish Kerr matched his national outdoor record of 2.31m to make history at the 2022 World Indoor Championship in Belgrade and become the first New Zealander to win a global (world championships or Olympic) high jump medal with a magnificent bronze.
Showing enormous composure in the first indoor competition of his life, Hamish four times surpassed the 39-year-old national record of Roger Te Puni as he went toe to toe with the cream of global high jumping.
A second time clearance at 2.31m put him firmly in the medal picture and although 2.34m was just beyond him, he shared bronze with Italy’s charismatic Olympic high jump champion Gianmarco Tamberi during a pulsating competition.
The gold was secured by 2022 world number one Sanghyeok Woo of South Korea, who successfully cleared 2.34m with his first attempt. Swiss jumper Loic Gasch also cleared a best of 2.31m to grab silver on countback ahead of Hamish and Tamberi.
Hamish said on winning bronze: “I am amazingly stoked and feeling a lot of relief because I knew coming into this competition I was in amazing form. I knew I was one of the athletes that had a quiet chance of doing well, so just to be able to execute the plan we put in place and to be able to get an awesome result is cool.”
“At 2.31m I always had the belief I could get it I just had to commit to my last few steps which has been an issue for me all season. I didn’t quite commit to the first attempt but I had a good sniff (of clearing). That second attempt I committed and it was one of the nicest jumps of my life.”
Meanwhile Tom Walsh claimed a fourth successive World Athletics Indoor Championship podium finish, winning a bronze medal in an exhilarating final courtesy of an Oceania record equalling throw of 22.31m.
The 30-year-old Kiwi set the tone for a high-class competition in Belgrade taking an early lead in round one, powering the shot out to a huge new season’s best effort of 22.29m only for his great rival Olympic champion Ryan Crouser of the USA to respond with the very next throw of the competition unleashing a 22.44m put.
Tom registered a foul in round two and posted a 21.78m mark in the third round but the major move was made by Brazilian Darlan Romani, who set a stunning championship record of 22.53m to elevate himself into gold and relegate the New Zealander to bronze.
Further fouls followed in rounds four and five for the Christchurch-based athlete before he left his best until last – yet again proving his remarkable ability to deliver when it counts most – to match his Oceania indoor record set at the 2018 edition of these championships with a 22.31m toss.
Tom added a bronze medal to the two golds (2016, 2018) and bronze (2014) he has snared at the three previous editions of this championship.
“I’m happy with those two throws (22.29m and 22.31m), I didn’t completely get hold of one but you have to be really on at a major championship and we are all looking for that extra half of one per cent,” said Tom.
“I always hold myself in high regard for always showing up at major championships, and I’ve done that for seven or eight years now. It is great to get a season’s best out and know I’ve still got it."Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games