Walsh set to cash in on win
‘‘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.’’