Athletics: Adams and Gill to compete in Christchurch

New Zealand athlete Valerie Adams. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand athlete Valerie Adams. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Valerie Adams will take on a number of men in the shot put at next month's International Track Meet in Christchurch.

The world and Olympic champion will headline the all-comers shot put event, an innovative format used previously at the meet in which men, women, and juniors are pitted against one another using their grade-appropriate implements, which creates a level competition.

Her main competition looks to be Timaru powerhouse Tom Walsh, although organisers are hopeful of adding international opposition for Adams before the fields are confirmed for the February 4 meet.

Teenage throwing sensation Jacko Gill will also compete in Christchurch but is forgoing the shot put in favour of the discus competition.

Adams had been due to compete in the 2011 International Track Meet until it was cancelled following the February 22 earthquake.

"It's going be great opening my season in Christchurch," she said "It's an exciting meet and I couldn't think of a better way to begin my 2012 year. It will be nice to be down there with the people of Christchurch after the tough time they have all had."

Although Gill's discus prowess has been previously shadowed by his success with the steel ball, and he doesn't specifically train for the discus, he is nonetheless ranked No 5 in the world in his age-group and has his sights set on dominating that discipline in the same way.

Gill broke Cantabrian Chris Mene's national under-18 discus record last year while still 16 by more than 2m with a throw of 62.05m - a target he will be looking to surpass again in Christchurch with the youth-grade 1.5kg implement.

With the discus being held early in the meet, many competitors are expected to double up for the unique chance to compete against both Adams and Gill on the same day.

"I look forward to competing in Christchurch," Gill said. "I have always had a great time when I have been in town. I hope to meet some of the locals, I am humbled by their bravery and what they have been through."

Nick Willis will run in the handicap two mile race and Nikki Hamblin will compete in the women's 3000m.

- APNZ

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