Athletics: Adams happy with consistency

By Dana Johannsen

New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Securing a 12th national title was a foregone conclusion for shot put queen Valerie Adams as soon as she stepped into the circle at the national track and field championships at Mt Smart.

What she was not so certain of was her progress following a lacklustre showing at the Sydney Track Classic two weeks ago, where she could only manage a best throw of 20.02m.

As the double Olympic champion prepares to head off overseas for the European season to continue her build-up to the world championships in Moscow in August, she hoped for a more convincing performance. Convincing she was, with the 1.93m giant of her sport rattling off six throws over 20m, with her best being her second effort of 20.37m - nearly five metres further than silver medallist Te Rina Keenan of Auckland.

Adams, who sets exacting standards of herself, was delighted with her consistency but left frustrated she couldn't quite hit the really big throw she felt she had in her.

"I wanted to break my New Zealand record [21.11m], but all things considered with where my body is at at the moment, I'm pretty happy with that," she said. "But I feel like I'm so close to hitting it, that it's more disappointing not hitting it."

Adams leaves for her base in Switzerland in two weeks, where she will resume her training with coach Jean-Pierre Egger as she eyes a fourth world title.

Jacko Gill was similarly dominant in the under-20 shot put, blitzing the field with a throw of 20.53 in his first competition since December last year. Gill opted to only contest the junior title at the championships having only just recently commenced full training after ankle and hand injuries disrupted much of his season. The two-time junior world champion described his performance as an "okay starting point" but said he'd hoped for more, despite being hampered by inflammation in his problematic right hand.

"I was aiming for over 21m to be honest - I wasn't that happy with that," the 18-year-old said.

Gill broke the knuckle of his middle finger last year and the injury appears to have flared up again, spreading to his index finger.

While he battles the problem with his hand, Gill said he will stick to the junior events, with the 6kg shot easier to manage. On Friday he flies out to Sweden for a month to visit his girlfriend and will compete in a couple of local events while there.

Bitterly disappointed with her showing in Friday night's 100m final, hockey star Anita Punt will wait to see how she pulls up this morning before making a decision on whether she'll run the 200m on the final day of the track and field nationals.

Hyped as one of the title favourites in the glamour event after her stunning early success in the track, the Black Sticks striker finished fifth in final behind sprinters she had beaten in previous events.

In hindsight her bid for a national title may have been a little too ambitious. Punt only returned from the Black Sticks five-test tour of Argentina a couple of weeks ago, and was said to still be feeling the effects of the gruelling travel and playing schedule.

- Herald on Sunday

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