Heaving a heavy metal ball for distance may seem like a colossal waste of time, but the shot put is one of the premier events in the world of Athletics and it will be a prominent component of the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand prospects in the shot put took a turn for the better when Kiwi shot putter Tom Walsh started throwing the shot beyond the boundaries at the Sir Graeme Douglas International meet at Waitakere Stadium in Auckland on Sunday.
Walsh established a new New Zealand record when his second throw covered 22.67 metres.
Earlier in the month, he set is personal best at the World Indoor Championships with a put of 22.31 metres, so it would seem as though he is rounding into top form at the exact right time.
So far, no one is accusing him of shot tampering ala Steve Smith, but we assume those puts are carefully inspected to make sure they conform.
In the world of sports, shot put records seem to hold up better than do some other records. Walsh’s throw was tied for ninth best ever recorded, a mark he shares with American Kevin Toth, who made his distance in 2003.
The current world record of 23.12 metres belongs to Randy Barnes of the USA and dates to 1990. If Walsh can somehow find another 82 centimetres, he could top Barnes, but in the world of putting shots, 82 centimetres is roughly the equivalent of one Melbourne Cup.
Walsh’s toss is the best in the world this year, so long as the proviso of “active putters” is included.
“It felt pretty easy, it felt pretty good,” Walsh said soon after.
There are those of us who could not say anything like that. Simply picking the bloody thing up and carrying that far might be beyond our capabilities.
The Sir Graeme Douglas International meet was Walsh’s last competition before the Commonwealth Games, which start on April 4.