Commonwealth Games: Golden Val shows she's in a class of her own

By David Leggat

Valerie Adams flies the flag after winning gold in Scotland yesterday to continue her unbeaten run. Photo / Greg Bowker
Valerie Adams flies the flag after winning gold in Scotland yesterday to continue her unbeaten run. Photo / Greg Bowker

Valerie Adams has no idea how long her stunning winning sequence will last, but she's not about to let it slip.

Her straightforward win in the Commonwealth Games shot put at Hampden Park yesterday was her 54th in a run that started in August 2010 in Slovakia.

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Along the way Olympic, world and Commonwealth titles have come Adams' way.

Her grip on the discipline remains as firm as ever. While she does not know when it will end, she's enjoying the run.

"Once I got to 50 (at the New York Diamond League meet on June 15), that was a massive goal and achievement. The goal now is enjoying every competition," Adams said in the tunnel after her victory, the 600th New Zealand Commonwealth Games medal.

"I know I am the hunted, but it is what it is, I love what I do. I have an amazing coach [Jean Pierre Egger] and we shall continue."

No current opponent seems likely to seriously threaten her run.

She brings to mind the great American 400m hurdler Ed Moses, who won 107 finals between 1977 and 1987, or brash English decathlete Daley Thompson, who went unbeaten from 1979 until 1987.

Adams' closest challenger, Trinidad and Tobago's Cleo Borel, who won the silver yesterday, is Adams' best mate on the circuit - even plaiting her hair before the Games final for her - and is going to stay with her in Switzerland next week.

Borel reckons Adams has the psychological wood on her rivals.

"I think so because there were times this year when other throwers had the ability to beat her and they were not able to step up to the mark," Borel said.

"She does cast a large shadow on the event, but compared to other champions in the past she's just an amazing leader for the women's shot."

Adams has been rooming with young Tongan discus thrower Tina Hakeai in the Games village.

Hakeai, who had her qualifying round early today, appeals to Adams, who sees a bit of her young self in the 20-year-old.

"She's a great kid, has a similar upbringing, she's South Auckland, she's Tongan, lots of talent and I'm trying to show her tips on things.

"If she continues to work hard, she could be the next generation of New Zealand sport."

Just as Adams once was. Not a bad figure to aspire to emulate.

- NZ Herald

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