Tokyo Olympics: American Ryan Crouser fires warning shot at Kiwis putters Tom Walsh, Jack Gill with world record

Kiwi shot putters Tom Walsh and Jack Gill have been put on notice in their bid for Tokyo Olympics gold, with American rival Ryan Crouser smashing the world record at the US Olympic trials at Eugene.

The reigning Olympic champion electrified the crowd at Hayward Field with a toss of 23.37m, exceeding the previous record of 23.12m, which had stood for more than 30 years.

Crouser, 28, let out a roar, as he rocketed the ball nearly out of the sector on his fourth throw and thrust his hands aloft in triumph, his spot in the upcoming Games guaranteed.

American Randy Barnes set the previous mark in 1990, but was later suspended for more than two years, after returning a positive steroid test. 

Earlier this year, Crouser also broke Barnes' indoor record with a throw of 22.82m at Fayetteville, Arkansas.

His form will concern Walsh and Gill, who are already building towards the Tokyo shot put qualifying rounds on August 3.

At the 2019 world championships in Doha, Crouser and Walsh both threw 22.90m - personal bests for both at that time - with the American prevailing on a countback of next-best throws, but still finishing one centimetre behind winner Joe Kovacs in the greatest shot competition ever.

This year, Walsh has won three straight international competitions, achieving a season-best 22.00m at Florence last week. He is currently ranked fifth in the world for 2021, with Gill (21.52m) 13th.

Crouser's achievement brought a jolt of excitement as the US trials began, with hopefuls across track and field disciplines vying for spots on Team USA with the year-delayed Tokyo Games.