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Kyle Blignaut misses out on shot put medal as Tom Walsh grabs gold with 22m effort

Cape Town — He skipped the world championships to give him the best possible chance of success at the Commonwealth Games, but it was a difficult night for Kyle Blignaut in the men’s shot put final on Friday night.

The giant former world junior champion finished sixth in last year’s Tokyo Olympics, and would have had high hopes of reaching the podium at the Alexander Stadium.

But injuries delayed his start to the season, and he was beaten by Jason van Rooyen at the South African championship in Cape Town in April.

Despite having chosen not to compete at the worlds in Eugene, Oregon a few weeks ago, Blignaut still had his work cut out to be a medallist in Birmingham, as Olympic bronze medallist Tom Walsh and Nigeria’s Commonwealth silver medallist Chukwuebuka Enekwechi were in the field.

As expected, New Zealand’s Walsh set the standard immediately in the first round with a superb 21.98m effort, which was further than every other participant’s personal best.

Blignaut started off well enough, producing an 18.78m heave with his first attempt.

He then improved in the second round, reaching a distance of 19.23m.

But then the 22-year-old from Pretoria was unable to record another legal attempt in his last four rounds, which saw him finish in seventh position.

Walsh, though, was a model of consistency as his first five efforts all went beyond the 21-metre mark, before he celebrated his gold medal in fine style with a huge 22.26m.

Fellow Kiwi Jacko Gill hauled out a new personal best of 21.90m in the final round to grab the silver medal, with England’s Scott Lincoln claiming the bronze with 20.57m.

Enekwechi ended fourth with a best effort of 20.36m.

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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