Athletics: Adams reigns supreme in dominant return from surgery

By Michael Brown

A delighted Valerie Adams has blitzed the field to claim her third indoor
A delighted Valerie Adams has blitzed the field to claim her third indoor

Valerie Adams hasn't been beaten in competition in nearly four years but the two-time Olympic champion felt vulnerable going into the world indoor track and field championships in Poland yesterday.

She needn't have worried as she claimed her third world indoor title and extended her winning run to 44 competitions, which dates back to August 2010.

She blitzed the field in Sopot, five times surpassing 20m and her winning throw of 20.67m was 73cm further than Germany's Christina Schwanitz in second.

What made Adams anxious about the event was the fact she had ankle and knee surgery late last year and returned to competition only a fortnight ago at the International Track Meet in Christchurch.

"It might have looked easy but it was more difficult for me mentally and any other competition because I was walking into the unknown," Adams told Radio Sport.

"I was a little bit anxious.

"The last six months have been pretty hectic and it was interesting leading into these championships. I wasn't actually going to come.

"It has been a different focus and a very sweet victory for me knowing I can come back strong after surgery.

"It's been a long six months but it's all paid off."

It took New Zealand to third equal on the medal table after the second day of action after Tom Walsh surprisingly won bronze in the men's shot put. The 22-year-old, who was ranked 17th going into the event, broke his own New Zealand indoor record three times during the final including 21.26m on his final effort.

Nick Willis threatened to add another medal in the men's 1500m when he finished fourth, only to be disqualified for stepping inside the rail on the final turn. Willis' appeal was turned down.

"Our belief is Turkish runner cut down on me to prevent the pass and bumped me," Willis said on Twitter. "Painful but serves me right for trying to pass on the inside."

At 29 and nearly a decade at the top, Adams' motivation for the sport doesn't seem to be slowing down. She should romp to victory at this year's Commonwealth Games - there were no other Commonwealth athletes in the final at the world indoor championships - and has targeted a third Olympic gold in Rio in 2016.

"My love for the sport, my passion is still there," she said.

"People are trying to hunt me down. Before I was the hunter but now I am the hunted.

"My job is harder because I have to stay on top for as long as possible and I have to work harder to make sure I'm better than everyone else. That's the hard part.

"Getting to the top is easy, I reckon."

Zane Robertson was due to run in the final of the men's 3000m early this morning after qualifying in the sixth fastest time of 7 minutes 44.16 seconds.

Lucy van Dalen failed to qualify for the final of the women's 3000m after finishing eighth in her heat in 9:10.20.

- APNZ

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