Athletics: Vili takes on French coach after Hellier's exit

Olympic shot put champion Valerie Vili has signed with a new coach.

After splitting with long-time coach Kirsten Hellier last month, the 25-year-old will now be under the guidance of former French national coach Didier Poppe.

Athletics New Zealand chief executive Scott Newman confirmed Poppe's selection as the new coach, saying he and Vili had been working together over the past week to line things up.

Poppe was a French javelin champion who became national coach after his career ended, even though he lived in New Caledonia.

He was an IAAF coach and lecturer for many years and, when he finished up in New Caledonia, he emigrated to New Zealand, where he lives in Whangaparaoa.

He coaches rising throwing star, 15-year-old Jacko Gill.

Vili announced the end of her 11-year relationship with Hellier a day after winning her 10th national title, and coinciding with the end of the domestic summer.

Hellier said it was time for Vili to enter the next phase and she did not feel she could continue to help her.

- NZPA

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