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Tom Walsh Secures Historic World Indoor Silver

Birthday boy Tom Walsh claimed a brilliant shot put silver medal in Glasgow today to secure a fifth straight World Athletics Indoor Championships medal with a best put of 22.07m.

Walsh had to concede defeat to the World and Olympic champion Ryan Crouser, who posted a mighty championship record of 22.77m but it was another top-quality display by the Kiwi, who toasted his 32nd birthday by becoming the most decorated male shot putter in the history of the World Indoor Championships.

Fellow Kiwi Jacko Gill produced the best senior global championship performance of his career by placing fifth courtesy of a fourth round 21.69m. Italy’s World outdoor silver medallist Leonardo Fabbri claimed the bronze medal with 21.96m.

Walsh looked in the mood from the get-go letting out of roar of delight after a first round 22.07m to take an early lead only for Crouser, the world record-holder to dislodge the Kiwi from top spot with the very next throw unleashing a 22.36m put. Gill sat fourth after a first round 20.76m. Fabbri in bronze with a 21.96m toss.

There was no improvement in round two and three, as Walsh released the shot a little high and registered a 21.65m followed by a 21.06m. Crouser also did better his opening round effort while Gill with a 21.18m in round two backed up this up with a 20.82m to sit fifth.

The competition inside the Emirates Arena stepped up a notch in round four. Gill powered out his best of the competition with the metal ball slamming down on the mat at 21.69m.

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Walsh unleashed a second 22m throw with a 22.03m effort only for Crouser to tighten his grip on gold with a 22.51m throw. In the penultimate round, Walsh went out to 21.96 to maintain his consistent series while Crouser further extended his advantage with a championship record of 22.77m. Gill registered a 21.49m mark.

There was no change in round six. Gill climaxed his competition with a 21.13m while there was no late drama from Walsh, who posted a 21.69m. The silver medal the Cantabrian snared today adds to the two gold and two bronze medals he has won at previous editions of the World Indoor Championships spanning the past ten years. Crouser added the one major title missing from his glittering CV and rounded out the comp with a 22.69m hurl.

Walsh said: “It was nice to grab the whole set but I wanted a different birthday present. I felt like I gave myself a really good chance to throw a long way, I almost nailed two or three of them which is what we come here to do, so it was a little bit frustrating but I’m also glad I managed to get a medal.

“I felt I gave myself a chance every round and that’s all I can ask for. This year is an Olympic year and an important one to get right. I feel like I’ve learned a few things this year, I’ve thrown really well I’m just saving one for later in the year.”

Gill said: “It was good I haven’t thrown much indoors or on the circuit, but I was pretty happy overall.

“I take a lot of confidence from today. I thought previously I was a long way off the medals but today I felt I was good throw away from a medal. It was a definite improvement from me compared to the other guys.”

Maia Ramsden made a memorable debut in the Black Singlet by easing into the final of the women’s 1500m in a national indoor record time of 4:06:51. Running in the second of four heats and knowing only the first three would advance to the final on Monday at 10.45am, left little margin for error but she ran with the maturity of a more seasoned performer.

The 21-year-old Harvard University student was happy to slot in at the back or the seven-strong field for the first couple of laps before slowly making her way through the field and on the penultimate lap she moved past Australia’s experienced Linden Hall to move into third spot.

While US indoor 1500m champion Nikki Hiltz took the heat win in a PB of 4:03:34 to top the qualifiers into the final ahead of Great Britain’s Georgia Bell (4:04.39), Ramsden, 21, maintained her composure to claim a comfortable third well clear of Hall in fourth (4:09.83).

The performance lowered the previous NZ Indoor record held by Lucy van Dalen at 4:11.68 set in 2012 and also bettered Ramsden’s PB of 4:08.60 set when striking gold at the 2023 NCAA Championships.

“I’m so happy, it has been an incredible experience so far and today extends that by two more days!” said Ramsden. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity and the chance to compete again in the final.

Ramsden an experienced indoor runner from the US collegiate circuit added: “What I know about indoor racing is that you can waste a lot of energy bouncing around on the curves and the bank, and if you do that, when it comes to the kick you will be tired. So, I trusted that as long as I stayed connected with the pack, I’d give myself a chance. In the last 200m the brain switches off you, so you just give it everything.”

On the final which takes place on Monday at 10.45am, Ramsden said: “Hopefully I can a handle the nerves over the next couple of days and execute a similar tactical race. I’m not counting myself out – everyone has a chance.”

A slick move on the inside on the final lap helped George Beamish ease into the final of the men’s 1500m as the 27-year-old Kiwi produced a composed display to place third in his first-round heat.

The fifth-place finisher in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2023 World Championships possesses a great range and he demonstrated it today over the metric mile distance. Content to lope along at the back for the first half of the race at the bell he was placed fifth before unleashing his decisive move. With a gap opening up on the inside the Hawke’s Bay raised athlete seized the opportunity as he quickly advanced from fifth to third – where he remained for the final 100m to secure his spot in the medal race, clocking 3:39.17. Kenyan Vincent Kibet Keter took out the heat win in 3:38.96 to top the qualifiers finishing 0.11 clear of World Road Mile champion Hobbs Kessler of the USA.

The men’s 1500m final takes place on Monday at 10.30am with Beamish’s ferocious kick a real weapon.

The Kiwis competing in day two session of the World Athletics Indoor Championships on Sunday are: All times NZT.

Session One

00:41 Zoe Hobbs – Women’s 60m heats

Session Two

08:05 – Eliza McCartney – Women’s pole vault

08:45 – Zoe Hobbs – Women’s 60m semi-finals (TBC)

10:45 – Zoe Hobbs – Women’s 60m final (TBC)

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