by Alexia Johnston

Gold medal-winning shot putter Tom Walsh is eyeing up another shot at world champion status.

Walsh, who returned to his home town of Timaru last week, has plenty to focus on, including the chance to defend his IAAF World Indoor Championships title in March next year.

He also won gold at the world championships in London in August after throwing a 7.26kg weight 22.03m.

To put that into perspective, Walsh’s personal best sits at 22.21m – further than a 20.12m cricket pitch.

Walsh talked about his plans for the future when he addressed this month’s Timaru Grey Power meeting.

Keen listeners . . . Members of the Timaru Grey Power group listen to Tom Walsh at the Timaru RSA last week. PHOTOS: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

He talked candidly about his challenges, goals and achievements.

“It’s pretty much a full-time job and I love it,” he said, of the sport that has made him a household name.

At just 25, Walsh, a builder by trade, knows he still has what it takes to remain in the sport for some time yet.

“One guy retired last year when he was 38.”

the shot put circuit were, at times lonely, but that had since changed.

“I went through a few years when there was just one other training partner,” he said.

“Now we’ve got a training group of 10 to 12 of us in Christchurch.”

“It’s pretty much a full-time job and I love it.” World shot put champion Tom Walsh

He said that group had brought a lot of energy to training sessions.

Add to that his support team, including coach, sport psychologist and dietitian, among others, along with sponsors and Walsh acknowledged times had changed since those earlier days.

“I’ve got a really big support team behind me,” he said.

“I’m pretty lucky now. I think if you are in the top five in the world in shot put you start to make a bit of money.”

Some of that money comes from sponsorship and diamond league prize money.

While Walsh had his sights set on another world championship title in just a matter of months, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo was also on his mind, an event that had the potential to “come around fast”, he said.Sports brandsNike