World champion Kiwi shot putter Tom Walsh wins Diamond League event in Birmingham

  • 21/08/2017

Tom Walsh continues to hold sway among the world's shot put heavyweights after notching victory at a Diamond League meet in Birmingham.

Two weeks after New Zealander Walsh claimed a maiden world championship title, he eclipsed his leading rivals in a tight competition during which nobody cleared 22m.

American Olympic champion Ryan Crouser led through the first four rounds, courtesy of opening distance of 21.55m.

Walsh, whose best was 21.29m until that stage, made his move in round five with a 21.75m heave.

When none of his opponents could match it, Walsh had no pressure on his final throw, which he extended out to 21.83m.

Tomas Stanek of the Czech Republic was third (21.16m) while the two other world championship medallists struggled. Joe Kovacs of the United States was seventh (20.52m) and Stipe Zunic of Croatia eighth (20.29m).

Walsh admitted to feeling self-imposed pressure coming in after his world title in London was later shrouded in controversy.

Crouser and Kovacs both unsuccessfully appealed that result, believing they had each had fouls incorrectly called on throws which had superseded Walsh's winning distance of 22.03m.

"My biggest worry today was not performing like a world champion," Walsh said.

"I wanted to prove I deserved to be world champion and I'm pleased that I did that. I got better as the competition went on. To throw that far with a slightly uphill throwing area is very encouraging."

Crouser leads the Diamond League standings on 31 points, with Walsh second on 22.

The pair will square off at the final Diamond League meet in Brussels on September 1.