Lisa Adams' rise in the sport of para shot put has been nothing short of rapid. Coached by famous sister Valerie she reached the highest heights in 2019. Sports reporter David Beck caught up with her.
Rotorua's Lisa Adams remembers being a 13-year-old and watching on TV as her sister Valerie competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the shot put.
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Valerie's long-time dominance of the sport is well documented and something Lisa said she was immensely proud of, but she never really considered following in her footsteps.
That is until last year when, having already played rugby, league, netball and basketball, she gave para shot put a go for the first time. Adams has left hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that affects the movement and growth of muscles on the limbs of one side of her body.
In March 2018, she found success almost immediately in her first competitive outing, winning a national title at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships.
In November this year, just 18 months after giving para shot put a go for the first time, Adams won gold at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.
Her first throw of 14.70m beat the world record of 14.52m, which she set herself at the Sir Graeme Douglas Athletics Championships in March. She improved that record further with a massive heave of 14.80m on her final throw.
Always one to modestly attempt to play down the significance of her achievements, her rapid rise to success was something she was still coming to terms with. Her efforts have also seen her nominated for ISPS Handa Para athlete/team of the Year at the Halberg Awards.
"The medal ceremony was cool. I guess going in, I had hoped I would end up getting to have a medal ceremony, everyone wants to win.
"There was lots of blood, sweat and tears leading up to it, I did work pretty hard and the stuff that comes after makes it all worth it. "
When it is pointed out to her that not many people can say they are the best in the world at something she responds: "I'd never really thought of it like that. I guess when you say it like that it is pretty cool."
She said the support of her sister Valerie, as well as her coaching, was invaluable.
"Having Val there was huge. I didn't get homesick until she left [Dubai]. We're somewhat similar, we both have kids and we share the same culture so we do the same stuff. The stuff you can't control, you just don't worry about.
"It helped having her there, definitely, because she's done the whole competition side of things before, although the para side is new. It was cool, we've trained together so much now, we were just in a new environment was all."
Despite winning gold and breaking the world record, she immediately saw room for improvement.
"I wasn't actually too happy with my throws because I know I can throw further - I have in training. Sometimes you feel like it's there but you just can't pull it out. It was enough for the win but I had hoped to throw better.
"People say 'yeah but you won' but knowing that I could've done better, even though I won, has made me more hungry for the future. I want to be more on, train harder and be technically better."
Adams now gets back to training with her attention set firmly on the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo. Her gold medal in Dubai secured New Zealand a track and field spot at the event but a selection committee will decide who goes. Being a world champion and world record holder, she is a likely candidate.
"It has all happened really fast, it was a pretty big year. Now I'm back into training, I'm not sure what I'm doing for the domestic season but there's nationals again in March.
"In para athletics, if you placed top four in Dubai you secure a Paralympic spot for New Zealand not for you. We took a team of 15 and qualified six spots, Paralympics NZ will announce who's going next year.
"When I first started this, that was my goal, to go and compete [at the Paralympics]."
If she does go to Tokyo next year, there is little doubt Adams will have no trouble taking it all in her lengthy stride.