by Mike Vimpany

There was a smile of satisfaction emanating from the ancient walls of Winchester College last weekend when New Zealander Tom Walsh was crowned IAAF World Indoor Athletics shot put champion.

The 26-year old spent the 2009 summer term at Winchester on a Mark Parker Cricket Scholarship, set up after the popular Kiwi St Cross Symondians cricketer had lost his life in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Walsh came across as part of Winchester’s link with a New Zealand school and played cricket for the college first team, scoring over 200 runs and taking 19 wickets.

“Tom was an extremely affable cricketer - a fine opening pace bowler and hard-hitting middle/lower order batsman too.

At extra cover, seldom a ball went past him,” recalled Winchester cricket coach Paul Gover.

“We were delighted to hear of Tom’s recent sporting success. He was a great character.”

Unsurprisingly, though, it was Walsh’s credentials in the shot put arena that really stood out.

“During his time at Winchester, Tom broke all previous shot put school records, throwing nearly half as far again as the previous record holder,” added Gover.

The Birmingham victory means Walsh has won the last three world shot put titles contested – the 2016 Indoor, 2017 Outdoor in London and 2018 Indoor Championships -and he will head into April’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as hot favourite to top the podium.

Younger brother Billy Walsh followed in Tom’s footsteps, spending two seasons as St Cross Symondians’ overseas player in the Southern Premier League.