Athletics: What New Zealand's Indoor World Championships medal haul means for Paris Olympics campaign

It may not directly affect the number of medals brought home from the Paris Olympics, but New Zealand's displays at the World Indoor Athletics Championships serve as the perfect preparation for a number of Kiwi contenders.  

After silver medals to Tom Walsh and Eliza McCartney on Sunday, New Zealand added two golds on Monday.  

Hamish Kerr claimed gold in the men's high jump, and set a new New Zealand national record in the process, before Geordie Beamish added a second with victory in the men's 1500m.  

Four medals represents New Zealand's best haul from a single indoor world championships, and leaves Aotearoa third on the medal table behind just USA and Belgium.

Tom Walsh celebrates.
Tom Walsh celebrates. Photo credit: Getty Images

But given the nature of the World Indoor Championships, two-time Olympic bronze medallist Walsh is cooling expectations of a similar haul in Paris.  

However, the benefits of what New Zealand's team have achieved over the past two days should also not be ignored.   

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it," Walsh told Newshub. "It's not a straight correlation, absolutely not. There's some athletes who aren't here.  

"But also, it is a great confidence booster for the team. To come here, at a major championship – because it still is a major championship – and perform at their best, when it counts.  

"Yes, there will be a few more pressures later on, internal pressures, expectations and so forth.  

"But this is a really good testing point, that's one of the reasons why I came this year.

Eliza McCartney.
Eliza McCartney. Photo credit: Getty Images

"It is definitely a good start to the year. It's definitely good to come here and compete well, rather than come here and not compete well."  

At Tokyo 2021, New Zealand won just two medals in athletics, with Walsh's shot put bronze supplemented by another to Dame Valerie Adams.  

In the three years since, Kerr in particular has improved as a high jumper, and won gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.  

His gold-winning jump of 2.36m on Monday is just one centimetre short of the mark that won gold in Tokyo, as the title was shared by Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar.  

Meanwhile, McCartney's silver medal on Sunday was another step on her journey, after being hampered by injuries since her breakout performance at Rio de Janeiro 2016.  

Paris will be Walsh's third Olympics, while Beamish is in line to compete at his first.  

For now, though, the Kiwi team will enjoy each others' successes in Glasgow after a record haul.   

"We've already had a few beers with Hamish," Walsh joked. "He deserves to have one or two already.

"We'll definitely have a few more tonight, [and] just enjoy the moment.  

"I've been doing this sport for a long time; you never know what time is your last.   

"It's going to be good tonight, and we'll have one or two Fantas afterwards too."