Athletics: Adams completes set of world titles

Now Valerie Adams has completed her set of world titles, she's turning her attentions to retaining the most important one of all.

Adams this morning (Sun) won the shot put title at the world indoor athletics championships in Istanbul, Turkey. She did it with a personal best indoors and national and Oceania record of 20.54 metres, finishing 12cm of her great rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus and nearly 1m ahead of American Michelle Carter in third.

The 27-year-old now holds the Olympic, world and world indoor titles as well as being the current Commonwealth, Continental Cup and Diamond League champion. She is also unbeaten since August 2010 and leads 16-15 in head-to-head clashes with Ostapchuk.

It is the second time in her career Adams has completed her sport's grand slam by holding all of the major title, having first achieved the feat in 2008.

"It feels pretty cool,'' Adams said from Istanbul. "Very awesome to hold all the titles again. I didn't hold the indoor title after Ostapchuk took it from me [in 2010] so tonight meant a lot to me.''

A win in London on August 6 will mean a lot more. The world indoor championships were just part of her "journey'', as she likes to describe it, towards retaining the Olympic title she won in Beijing in 2008.

She has had a busy summer of training and competing in Australasia and she will now afford herself three days off before another training block at her Swiss base under the gaze of coach Jean-Pierre Egger. She will then compete at Diamond League meetings in Rome (May), New York (June) and London (July) but today's event represented the last major competition before the London Olympics and Adams was keen to stamp her authority on her rivals.

She waltzed through qualifying in the morning session, needing only one throw to better the automatic mark of 18.6m when she achieved 19.43m.

She took the lead in the second round of the final with a throw of 20.48m and held it throughout the competition until she unleashed an effort of 20.54m with the final throw of the competition.

Ostapchuk complained afterwards of technical problems - the throwing circle was made of wood and rubber rather than beton - which she had difficulties with, but she was in good form heading into the competition with the best throw this year and has an excellent record indoors.

She still looms as Adams' biggest threat in London and the Kiwi is taking nothing for granted.

"It was a very important win for me,'' she said. "I knew it was going to be difficult considering Ostapchuk had the No 1 ranking for the year coming into it but I was happy to win and happy with my performance as we work towards London. It was an important part of the journey.

"London will be a whole different ball game. There is still a lot of work to do so it will be head down and arses up. I am very excited about the Olympics coming up but there is still a lot of training to be done, still some months to go.

"Tonight was a very important part of [getting the psychological edge] but I will never underestimate anybody. It's just great to continue the winning streak from last year and great to do it in front of my coach in what wasn't an easy win.

"There is a good rivalry between us shot putters. Today again it was a competition like at Olympic Games. This victory means a lot to me. It was a great competition with a great outcome. I was probably a little bit nervous because of the clash with Ostapchuk.

"This is a big year for me.''

It's got off to a good start.

- APNZ

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