New Zealand shot putter Tom Walsh has qualified for the shot put final at the Tokyo Olympics in the most bizarre fashion.
It was utter confusion within Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, as Walsh's final throw was initially ruled a foul, which would likely have prematurely ended his Olympic campaign. But he demanded a review, and after several tense minutes where officials looked at the throw and Walsh walked out of the stadium, the throw was deemed to be good.
The television graphics and commentators were still in a muddle, but eventually it was confirmed Walsh had thrown 21.49m, good enough to be the top qualifier in his group.
Walsh was in a battle with the officials all night long.
His first throw went beyond the automatic qualifying mark of 21.20m, however, it was ruled a foul as his foot hit the front of the circle.
The same appeared to have happened with his second throw, but after a long, hard look the officials ruled it valid at 20.38m.
It left him in eighth going into his third and final throw, with a spot in the final anything but guaranteed.
After his qualification was finally confirmed, Walsh told 1 NEWS he might need to "have a whisky or two back at the village" to calm his nerves.
"Before I got here tonight I was going to die at 85, now I’m going to die at 80. It definitely took a few years off my life but to be completely honest I don’t know where I was being called for a foul.
"When he held up the red flag on the last throw I was like ‘I have no idea buddy where you’re looking buddy’. I know he’s not trying to get me right but it’s very nerve-wracking for everyone involved."
Walsh said it was "for sure" the most bizarre qualifying he had ever competed in.
He was not the only one to struggle.
Rio silver medallist Joe Kovacs, of the USA, could only manage a best of 20.80, over two metres below his personal best.
It was still enough to qualify for Thursday's final, but only in 11th place.
Fellow New Zealander Jacko Gill also qualified for the final in ninth place, having thrown 20.96m.
A shake of the head after his throw made it clear the 26-year-old felt he had plenty more to give.
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