Valerie Adams is rarely the hors d’oeuvres to the main course, but she admitted her 13th successive national shot put title was just that ahead of the Clash of the Titans men’s shot put battle between Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill.
That Adams gobbled up yet another national crown was no great surprise, but encouragingly she massively improved on her below par performance in Melbourne last week with a top-class display to register a staggering 46th successive victory.
The 29-year-old Aucklander warmed up a crowd chilled by the overcast and windy conditions at Newtown Park to register four marks beyond 20m with a first round effort of 20.46m proving the pick of the bunch.
“I was pleased with the consistency today, obviously last week in Melbourne I had a shocker (Valerie threw 19.68m there but was badly jet-lagged), but competing in New Zealand always helps wake me up. Coming back to New Zealand is where it first started for me – 13 national titles; it is a great way to finish my New Zealand season on a high.
“There are lots of younger throwers coming through and I have to keep two steps ahead of them. Today I threw a world lead and although I have thrown more at a New Zealand champs before (her championship record is 20.56m set in 2011) I feel my technique is a lot more stable than in the past.”
Adams will take a small three-day break before stepping up her preparations for the international season; before then, though, the two-time Olympic champion had an important appointment - to watch the men’s shot competition here in Wellington.
“It is fantastic for the sport, she admitted of the clash between Gill and Walsh. “I feel like I’m the warm up game before the real match. People have to realise that we (in New Zealand) are not about middle distance running anymore it is about the throws.”
Te Rina Keenan (Auckland) 15.03m and Ivanja Po’uhila (Auckland) 13.41m landed the silver and bronze medals.
By Steve Landells reporting from the 2014 New Zealand Track & Field Championships.