Walsh set to cash in on win

The Horowhenua Mail - - SPORT - MARC HIN­TON

‘‘Ob­vi­ously the big one is the end-of­sea­son Brus­sels Di­a­mond League.’’

Newly crowned world shot put cham­pion Tom Walsh is set to re­ceive a sig­nif­i­cant pay­day boost in the wake of his Lon­don hero­ics.

Walsh made his­tory on Mon­day when he stunned the heavy­weights of his game by claim­ing the world cham­pi­onships gold medal at the Olympic sta­dium.

The 25-year-old Christchurch­based Ti­maru ath­lete had five of the six best throws of the com­pe­ti­tion and claimed New Zealand’s first ever world ti­tle by a male ath­lete with a best throw of 22.03 me­tres on a night when his ri­vals failed to get any­where near that thresh­old.

That stun­ning ef­fort to de­feat Amer­i­can Olympic cham­pion Ryan Crouser (who was sixth with a dis­ap­point­ing 21.20m) and last year’s Rio sil­ver medal­list Joe Ko­vacs (se­cond again in Lon­don with 21.66m) is set to reap a de­cent fi­nan­cial wind­fall for the Kiwi.

Walsh will re­ceive US$60,000 (NZ$82,000) in IAAF prize-money for win­ning an in­di­vid­ual world ti­tle, which will come in more than handy for an ath­lete who spends a good chunk of the year on the road.

He also has his sights on de­fend­ing his Di­a­mond League crown which, if suc­cess­ful, would add an­other US$50,000 (NZ$68,000) to his cof­fers.

This year the Di­a­mond League has adopted a new for­mat where the 32 dis­ci­plines will com­pete for US$100,000 in prize-money each (in­clud­ing US$50,000 for win­ners) at fi­nals in Zurich and Brus­sels.

The men’s shot put fi­nal will be in Brus­sels on Septem­ber 1 and Walsh has al­ready in­di­cated he will be mov­ing heaven and earth to make that, de­spite a trou­bling groin in­jury he picked up just prior to com­pe­ti­tion in Lon­don.

‘‘The groin’s def­i­nitely sorer than what I thought it would be, but we’re go­ing to get an MRI on it to­mor­row and see what the story is as it could have an im­pact on the rest of my Euro­pean cir­cuit,’’ he told re­porters af­ter re­ceiv­ing his gold medal in Lon­don on Tues­day.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously the big one is the end-of-sea­son Brus­sels Di­a­mond League. That’s the fi­nal and that’s the one I want to be ready for.

‘‘If I don’t com­pete un­til then that’s OK, that’s the way it is. I might have to cut out a few com­pe­ti­tions.’’

Walsh has es­tab­lished him­self as one of the premier shot put ex­po­nents on the planet, with his world in­doors ti­tle last year fol­lowed by a Rio Olympics bronze and then the over­all Di­a­mond League crown. Now he has added the pres­ti­gious world out­doors ti­tle to his CV, his bank­a­bil­ity has in­creased markedly.

His en­gag­ing per­son­al­ity and down-to-earth charm should also play in his favour with po­ten­tial spon­sors.

Walsh’s coach Dale Steven­son in­di­cated that his charge’s com- mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties now had to come into their plan­ning.

‘‘I’ll make sure Tom’s fit and healthy to go through for the rest of the sea­son and then we’ve got a quick turn­around for Com­mon­wealth Games and world in­doors next year,’’ Steven­son told me­dia in Lon­don.

‘‘Now with Tom win­ning the world ti­tle there is the other side of the sport which is the com­mer­cial side and that takes on a bit more im­por­tance.’’

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