Tom Walsh wins bronze in shot put at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Tom Walsh won a bronze medal in the Olympic shot put final, repeating his success in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Walsh’s best throw was 22.47 metres, trailing winner American Ryan Crouser by 83 centimetres, who broke his own Olympic record by throwing 23.30 metres.

Joe Kovacs, another American, took silver with a distance of 22.65 metres.

The top three finishers mirrored the top three finishers from the Rio Olympics five years ago.

Jacko Gill, New Zealand’s other finalist, came in ninth place.

Walsh’s first throw was 21.09m, followed by 22.17m, which moved him into the top three.

That is where the 29-year-old from Timaru remained for the competition, despite a season’s best effort of 22.47m on his last round.

The result was not what the Rio bronze medallist was after.

“I definitely wanted a different colour medal, there’s no doubt about that, but I gave myself the best chance out there today to throw far, and almost got it,” he said.

“And that’s all I can ask for right, sometimes you just don’t quite put it together the way you’d like to, and you know that’s how good men’s shot put is right now, you’ve gotta nail it to win.

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“Joe and Ryan keep pushing the game, between the three of us we’re always pushing each other because we know that if one of us has an off day, the other two or one of them will beat you,” Walsh said.

“Ryan obviously throwing an Olympic record and then Joe throwing 22.65 too was a great throw. We’re all searching for that little bit and Ryan at the moment has got it, but that’s not to say we’re giving up.

“I know that when I line one up – and I will line one up at some point – it’s going to go a long way.”

Gill came agonisingly close to qualifying for the final three throws, finishing only 2cm short of eighth place.

The 26-year-old was unable to regain the form that saw him consistently throw the shot put over 21m during the summer of 2020-21.

He admitted that his technique was lacking.

“I think the technique wasn’t as good in the build-up as I would have liked, so it was a little bit off technically today.

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“And it was pretty hot, I’ve come from New Zealand so probably didn’t have enough time to adjust to the heat, but mainly technique I think today.”

Gill was in strong form heading to Tokyo, after throwing a personal best of 21.55m in late July, and while his consistency shone through with a no throw in the first round followed by consecutive 20.71m throws, it was unfortunately not enough.

“It’s OK, I would have liked fifth or sixth to be honest, so would like to have finished a lot higher, but it’s good, it’s not too bad, it’s just OK.”

With another Olympics under his belt, there is plenty still to come for the Aucklander.

“I’d love to get an Olympic medal, be at the Commonwealth Games next year, I’d love to win them and to beat Tom would be awesome, a New Zealand one-two would be great so I’ll be going really hard for that.”


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