Athletics: Adams eases to 11th national title

Valerie Adams  set a New Zealand allcomers and resident record at the Caledonian Stadium with a throw of 20.54 metres. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Valerie Adams set a New Zealand allcomers and resident record at the Caledonian Stadium with a throw of 20.54 metres. Photo / Brett Phibbs

World, Olympic and Commonwealth shot put champion Valerie Adams easily claimed her 11th national title at the New Zealand track and field championships in Dunedin today.

Adams set a New Zealand allcomers and resident record at the Caledonian Stadium with a throw of 20.54 metres, bettering her previous record of 20.33m set at the Auckland championships last month. All five of her legal throws were out beyond the 20m-mark.

"Last year was a struggle to crack 20 metres, and this year I got five throws over 20 metres," a satisfied Adams told TVNZ afterwards.

"To throw 20.54m here in New Zealand is not the easiest thing to do because there's no-one to push behind you."

Adams has shown encouraging form after a less than impressive season last year, when she split with coach of 11 years Kirsten Hellier in March 2010.

She also separated from husband Bertrand Vili, then parted ways with new coach Didier Poppe before joining Swiss-based coach Jean Pierre Egger late last year.

At last week's Sydney Track Classic, she threw 20.55m for the win, and has looked to be nearing the form needed to better her all-time best of 21.07m, set in Greece in September 2009.

Adams has set her long-term target for the year at the world athletics championships in Daegu, South Korea in late August where she will look to hold on to the title she won in Berlin two years ago.

Adams' sometime training partner, world junior shot put champion Jacko Gill, competing in the men's under-19 grade in Dunedin today, set a new world mark for 16- and 17-year-olds with a throw of 21.34m.

Elsewhere, double Commonwealth silver medallist Nikki Hamblin cruised to the women's 800m title in 2 minutes 05.49 seconds - more than six seconds clear of the field, but nearly six seconds slower than her personal best of 1min 59.66sec set last September.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist in the decathlon, Brent Newdick, showed his class to claim the 110m hurdles and pole vault titles as well as third in the long jump and sixth in the discus.

- NZPA

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