Athletics: Adams wins in Paris

By Andrew Alderson, in Paris

Valerie Adams. Photo / Getty Images
Valerie Adams. Photo / Getty Images

Val Adams has continued her world shot put dominance with a throw of 20.62m to win this morning's IAAF Diamond League meet at the Stade de France.

The distance was 26cm less than her season best set in the Czech Republic on June 27.
Adams steadily built towards her best throw in the fourth round after previous efforts of 20.12m and 20.60m. There were three no-throws.

The performance represented another sound build-up as she prepares for next month's world championships in Moscow.

The next best thrower was American Michelle Carter with 19.57m.

"I'm not sure what my coach [Jean-Pierre Egger] will say about three fouls but I'll deal with that when I get back to Switzerland," said a delighted Adams. "All the throws were over 20m and my injuries are under control. I'm not in pain when I'm throwing. It's a good back-up from the performance in Ostrava [in the Czech Republic]."

Adams says she sprained her ankle a week before the Diamond League event in Eugene, Oregon and is working through a niggly knee.

"Good ol' rock tape holds them together when I throw," she said.

Adams' only regret was that the women's shot put was not showcased more for a largely packed house after being one of the first events on show at the Paris meet.

"The crowd didn't really get a chance to get behind us but c'est la vie."

Adams can reflect on a consistent year to date which contrasts sharply with the peaks and troughs of 2012 which ultimately saw her lose the Olympic crown and have it reinstated on the back of Belarussian Nadzheya Ostapchuk testing positive to banned drugs.

A number of factors have boosted Adams' spirit.
1. Ostapchuk's efforts have been largely consigned to history's dustbin (although her July 2012 best of 21.58m still ranks 12th on the IAAF website).
2. Adams' 20.88m, set in the Czech Republic on June 27, is 64cm further than what anyone else has thrown this year.
3. The 28-year-old rents an apartment in downtown Biel, Switzerland for convenience rather than living in the monastic barracks of the sporting institute where she trains (at Magglingen in the Swiss Alps - no posters or photos on the wall, thanks).
4. The Pacific Showcase Market at Auckland's Cloud on the waterfront required crowd control to monitor the numbers flocking to see her throw.
5. She's often recognised on a first name basis at home and has moved into the sort of recognition territory occupied by fellow Olympic track and field champions Jack Lovelock, Yvette Williams, Murray Halberg, Peter Snell and John Walker.

Her skill in the throwing circle is also a massive fillip which enables Athletics New Zealand to stay in rude health to the tune of $7.6 million for the Olympic cycle. The payback is she can train under coach Jean-Pierre Egger for much of the year in Switzerland.

Adams is short-odds favourite to win an unprecedented four consecutive world championship, despite her performances rankings 23rd on the all-time list with a best of 21.24m in 2011.

When asked pre-meet for her favourite super hero to be published as part of the governing body's website deals, Adams responded with "Wonderwoman: because she's sexy, buff, strong and amazing". She'll need at least two of those qualities to break those shot put records.

Nineteen of the 22 superior personal bests were set between 1973 and 1990 and the 22.63m world record, set by Soviet Natalya Lisovskaya at Moscow in June 1987, remains 1.39m outside Adams' reach.

In the absence of Ostapchuk, Adams' closest rivals this year, Carter and German Christina Schwanitz, have thrown personal bests of 20.24m and 20.20 metres respectively but have shown enough potential for improvement to keep Adams on alert.

- Herald on Sunday

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