Defending champion Valerie Adams will head a team of five New Zealand athletes to compete in the world indoor athletics championships in Poland next month.

It's the largest team New Zealand has ever sent to a world indoor championships and will comprise two shot putters and three distance runners.

It will be Adams' fifth world indoor campaign _ her first was in 2004 _ and she will be hot favourite to claim a third world indoor title in the women's shot put.

The 29-year-old will go into the championships in good form, having set a world's best mark of 20.19m for the year at last weekend's International Track Meet in Christchurch, which was her first competition since August. The double Olympic and four-time world champion also had knee and foot surgery in September.


Nick Willis (1500m) has competed previously but it will be the first world indoor championships for Lucy van Dalen (3000m), Tom Walsh (shot put) and Zane Robertson (3000m).

Adams has left for her training base in Switzerland to complete her preparations, while the rest of the team departs later this week.

New Zealand team for the world indoor championships in Sopot, Poland, from March 7-9: Valerie Adams (women's shot put), Lucy van Dalen (women's 3000m), Zane Robertson (men's 3000m), Tom Walsh (men's shot put), Nick Willis (men's 1500m).