Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Tomas Walsh, Olivia McTaggart & Jade Ive (August 2017)

Tom Walsh was born in Timaru, New Zealand on 1st of March 1992.
The New Zealander Tomas Walsh, set a new Games record at Bedford in the UK CAU & England Athletics Senior AAA’s Championships, on the 30th of July, 2017 with a magnificent shot Putt of 22.06. He was competing as a guest and, the mark was not very short, of his best of 22.21 (72ft 10¼) that he did at Zagreb on the 5th of September 2016.

In the AAA’s competition at Bedford 2nd was Dillon Simon of Dominica, also a guest in 18.65 and 3rd the Inter-Counties winner Scott Lincoln of Yorkshire, who belongs to the City of York AC, who did 18’54.

“It is one weekend to go to the World Champs. I just needed one or two tune up competitions. Last year I was one or two competitions short of really getting into a good group, so we decided to do two competitions before, two weeks out. I am starting to knock on the door and fairly close to where I need to be. This last week I have been freshening up.”

When did he first start in the sport?
“I think maybe the age was three. My brother is two years older than me. He was playing soccer and so I got to play and, from there on out I played rugby & cricket.
Athletics came on later. I did it when I was 13 and then I really was coming to the forefront of stuff at 18/19. I played rugby and cricket mainly through school.”

Must be a useful size for rugby!
“Every Kiwi does rugby. I played for the first 15 at school and, South Island teams. I am pretty happy with the choice I made.’

The Shot was his favourite event?
“It is the only event I think,’ (He chuckled); ‘I only throw the shot now. I think it is too tough to do more than throwing the shot. I think it is too tough to do more than one event’

With the shot you have to do a lot of weight work
“I train probably 10 to 12 sessions a week. 4 or 5 in the gym, 4 or 5 depending on where we are in the scheme of things.”

His favourite performances
“I won the World Indoors last year, in Portland Oregon, USA.
That is the big one that comes to mind’ (1 Tomas Walsh (NZ) 21’78; 2 Andrei Grag (Roumania) 20’89; 3 Filip Mihaijevci (Croatia) 20’87) and also, the Rio Olympic Games (1 Ryan Crouser (USA) 22’52; 2 Joe Kovacs (USA) 21.78; 3 Tom Walsh (NZ) 21’36.)
‘Getting the bronze at the Rio Games was something pretty special; I still think I was worth a little bit better than bronze but I did not find it on the day but, that is sport.’

He was also 3rd in the Commonwealth Games of 2014 in Glasgow
It was in Zagreb on the 5th of September 2016 he achieved a Commonwealth record of 22.21. He threw the discus 53.58 in 2014 but, decided to stick to his one speciality the shot putt.
Another New Zealand guest at the AAA’ event at Bedford was in the Womens pole vault final. Olivia McTaggart (who did her best vault back in Hastings, New Zealand with 4.40 on the 14th of January 2017) She was born 9/1/2000. She was a guest and came first at Bedford with 4.15 but the glory on the day must go to 25 year old, Jade Ive Born 27/1/92, who was 2nd. She is from the Sutton & District club in Surrey. She really loves vaulting & just concentrates on that, rather  doing any other athletics event and, she is, coached by ‘Over 60’ British Pole vault Champion Allan Williams of Blackheath & Bromley, who did 5.25 for the event  back in 1977. He is very precise with his vaulting, as I have witnessed on several occasions, at the Julie Rose Stadium, Ashford. Jade Ive was the English and Inter-Counties Champion on the 30th of July, with a vault of 4.05 and also, had won that annual event with 4’10 in 2015; and 4’01 in 2016. ‘A hat trick’.
Obviously she is a great UK prospect for international medals in the future. Take her performance indoors in 2017. She vaulted 4.36 in the Surrey Indoor Championships at Carshalton on the 19th of February 2017.

Alastair Aitken

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