Athletics: Adams comfortable with competitive return

By Dale Budge

Valerie Adams got through her comeback event at the Auckland Track Challenge in Waitakere tonight without hiccup but was still a long way off her best form.

A best throw of 18.85m was her best effort since 2014 but the two-time Olympic champion wasn't focusing much on the numbers ahead of a massive campaign building towards the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games later in the year.

"It was good. The body is not too bad," the 31-year-old says.

"Today was a bit of an unknown to be honest. Training has been going very well. I actually feel pretty good. I think there was a bit of anxiety with my first competition probably and it got to me a bit but in saying that I finished off with a throw further than where I was at last year.

"I wanted to get over 19 metres tonight I have got to be honest with you but hey, we'll take it.

"It was fun though."

Adams looked frustrated throughout the competition, often looking towards coach Jean-Pierre Egger in the stands and remonstrating about her technique. But afterwards she was bubbly and seemed pleased just to get through the event even if her best distance was well short of what she's been putting up in training.

"I'm not happy but I'll take it," she says. "After my surgeries and everything that has happened in 2015 what I can take out of it is that was further than I have thrown in the last 15 months. I tried too hard and it probably got the best of me to be honest."

With a base to begin with Adams will turn her attention to the National Championships in Dunedin next weekend before beginning her comeback on the international stage in mid-March.

"I have got this under my belt, which I think was a good thing. Whether we came out now or came out next weekend the anxiety would still have been there so I am glad to kind of get it over and done with and get the feel of competition again.

"I think it is about improving on tonight's performance. Anyone can raise the bar by one metre, two metres or three metres - everybody wants to be the best but for me it is about improving on tonight's performance and I think next weekend I'll be a lot more calm now that I have got this out of the way."

Men's shot put star Tom Walsh bettered rival Jacko Gill's New Zealand residents record with a throw of 20.91m. Gill withdrew from the Auckland Track Challenge with a wrist injury while Walsh sat out the Big Throw competition, where Gill posted his short-lived record a fortnight ago. The pair will go head-to-head at the National Champs next week pending Gill's recovery.

Meanwhile promising pole vaulter Eliza McCartney jumped 4.65m and attempted the Oceania record of 4.78m but was unsuccessful. She lost to Australian rival and training partner Alana Boyd on a count back after neither athlete could improve from the 4.65m mark.

- NZ Herald

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