LONDON: Tomas Walsh of New Zealand won the men’s shot put world title on Sunday with a stunning series of throws climaxing with a best of 22.03 metres.
The 25-year-old — a former builder which he credits for his body strength — edged out America’s defending champion Joe Kovacs, who posted a best of 21.66.
“To pull it out on the last one is awesome,” said Walsh, who revealed he had been undergoing treatment on his groin prior to the final.
“I knew that (Olympic champion) Ryan Crouser was going to attack on the last attempt and it is so special for me to know that I was able to attack, too.
“Whether it was a fierce throw or not, I tried my hardest in the last throw and it worked. I did not want to do 22m in the qualification and then lose it in the final.”
There was a heated finale, though, when Kovacs’s final throw, that appeared to be over 22m, was ruled out by a red flag.
He demanded an explanation but there was to be no going back on the decision as his trailing foot clipped the board as he launched the shot.
However, with the heat of battle having cooled Kovacs was satisfied with his silver although he took added satisfaction that he would have won if the throw had been allowed.
“I am happy to get on the podium, of course, but I was ready to come back for the gold,” he said.
“My last throw, which I did protest, was long enough to win. Despite the result of the protest, I am just glad it was enough to win.”
Croatia’s Stipe Zunic took the bronze with 21.46m whilst there was crushing disappointment for Crouser, who could finish only sixth with 21.20m.
Walsh pumped the air with his fist after his second throw and he had good reason to as he took the lead from Kovacs, who had hurled his shot out to 21.46.
Walsh consolidated his lead with his third effort recording a mark of 21.75m but things weren’t going well for Crouser, who slipped to fifth by the third round.
The American’s third effort was a massive throw but it was ruled a foul.
The pressure increased on Crouser as his fourth throw also resulted in a foul and he went into the sixth and final round in sixth spot.
However, there was to be no grandstand finale for the 24-year-old.