New Zealand thrower gets gold in Australia after Games record in qualifying, while Akani Simbine leads South Africa 100m 1-2
Tom Walsh continued his winning ways at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Monday evening, throwing 21.41m to claim shot put gold for New Zealand.
The event was in the spotlight thanks to the 26-year-old’s impressive Games record throw of 22.45m in qualifying and although he wasn’t able to match that mark in the final, he did enough to add another title to a major medal haul which also includes world wins both indoors and out.
This latest performance, in front of many passionate New Zealand fans in the Carrara Stadium, comes just over five weeks after Walsh’s championship record for world indoor gold in Birmingham and he believes there is still a great deal to come.
“I think I’ve got much more room to improve, everywhere still,” said the Glasgow 2014 silver medallist, whose mark to make the final broke the record for the longest qualifying throw at any championships. “For example, tonight I was just a little bit off in terms of the mental side of things. When I can address that, let loose, and let it move freely, I’ll be fine.”
And with gold the goal, he was delighted he could deliver.
“There’s a huge amount of support from back home,” Walsh added. “Just knowing that they’re there supporting me and wanting me to do well is huge. To come in here and do that for them, it’s awesome.”
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi secured silver for Nigeria with the throw of his life, a PB of 21.14m, while Canada’s Tim Nedow claimed bronze with a 20.91m put. Jamaica’s reigning champion O’Dayne Richards just missed the medals with 20.80m as the top six all surpassed 20 metres.
There was a surprise one-two for South Africa in the men’s 100m final as Akani Simbine got gold in 10.03 (0.8) from Henricho Bruintjies with 10.17, while pre-race favourite Yohan Blake of Jamaica stumbled out the blocks and had to battle for bronze.
South Africa had never previously won a Commonwealth medal in the men’s 100m and Bruintjies said: “For a couple of years now, we’ve changed the game in South Africa.
“I’m just so happy because there’s a lot of guys coming up.”
Disappointed with his run, Blake said: “Maybe I was too confident and over thought it.
“I couldn’t catch the field as I wanted to. I was stumbling all the way and I didn’t recover from it. I’ve been feeling good and it was not to happen today.”
Adam Gemili had been due to contest the final for England but was forced to withdraw following an adductor injury sustained in the semi-final.
Australia’s Evan O’Hanlon was roared to victory in the T38 100m as he clocked 11.08 (0.8) to get gold ahead of South Africa duo Dyan Buis (11.33) and Charl du Toit, who clocked 11.35 to break the T37 record for bronze.
Wales’ Rhys Jones, who is also a T37 sprinter, clocked 11.87 for seventh, while England’s Amar-Mazigh Aichoun ran 12.14 in eighth.
Canada’s Damian Warner maintained his lead in the decathlon, recording 4509 points after five events following a 2.04m high jump and 48.12 400m. His team-mate Pierce Lepage sits second on 4380 points, while England’s John Lane is seventh with 3986 points and Ben Gregory ninth with 3691. Gregory’s Welsh team-mate Curtis Mathews withdrew from the competition after the high jump.
In the men’s 400m semi-finals, wins were claimed by Botswana’s Isaac Makwala (45.00), Grenada’s Bralon Taplin (45.44) and Muhammed Yahiya of India (45.44). England’s Rabah Yousif (46.05) and Dwayne Cowan (46.06) just missed out as the quickest to not qualify for the final after they both placed fourth, while Guernsey’s Cameron Chalmers ran 46.34 for fifth in his semi-final.
» See the April 12 edition of AW magazine for in-depth event-by-event coverage from the Gold Coast Games