© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Walsh and McCartney steal the show

Rio Olympics stars win their respective disciplines convincingly at the National Track and Field Championships.

Eliza McCartney proved yet again she is New Zealand's golden girl, while Tom Walsh dominated his field by almost 5 meters at Porritt Stadium in Hamilton over the weekend.

McCartney took out the the Senior Women's Pole Vault for the third year in a row, beating her opponent by almost a metre.

Her coach Jeremy McColl said although Eliza was short of her personal best, she loved being back at home in front of a home crowd. 

Eliza McCartney 3
Eliza McCartney at the 2017 National Track and Field Champs. Alisha Lovrich Photography and Design

"She had a pretty good weekend actually at the nationals. The result wasn't what she wanted but she really wanted to turn up and perform for the crowd because most people haven't seen her post Rio. So that was quite big for her to do that," McColl said.

"Looking at the crowd they got yesterday, it was pretty obvious that people wanted to actually come and see her jump."

Another competitor who drew the crowds was Olympic Shot Put Champion and Timaru local Tom Walsh.

Walsh claimed his 9th New Zealand title with a throw of 21.5 meters, almost 5 meters ahead of the rest of his field.

Almost a metre shy of his personal best, Walsh was disappointed with his performance but said to get four throws over 21 meters is pretty good in any competition.

"It was slightly disappointing because I thought I was in better shape than that, I was throwing pretty well during the week then I just wasn't getting anything through the shot put at the end which was very disappointing."

Tom Walsh2
Tom Walsh at the 2016 National Track and Field Champs. Jeremy Ward, photosport.co.nz

Although it wasn't his worst day, Walsh said he had to be able to perform well regardless of who he is up against.

"I should be able to get up and throw far whenever I want. I believe it does help somewhat to have other guys throwing close to you or further to you and a really pumped up crowd and stuff like that definitely helps. But at the same time, I should be able to get there by myself as well because there's going to be more pressure on the big stage when there's 80,000 people watching," said Walsh.

And McCartney wasn't the only one who enjoyed being back in front of a home crowd.

"It was great to come back, even though Jacko wasn't there, to win another New Zealand title, at the end of the day, it's another title which is what we want. To throw further than what I did last year at the champs is good as well," Walsh said.

"I only compete a few times in New Zealand every year, so it was great to see Eliza competing at the same time as me, they were there to watch her and me and also Joseph Millar running as well."

"Hopefully the crowd enjoyed themselves and we put on some type of show for them," said Walsh.

McCartney will compete in the Australian Champs next week before having a break to prepare for the World Champs later in the year.

Walsh will have a break from competing until May when he will travel to Oregon for the Diamond League.