Amid the jungle yells, flying mini-cannonballs and captive
audience at Auckland's Cloud this afternoon, Val Adams set
the best women's shot put throw in the world this year.
Using her familiar glide technique, the 28-year-old revelled
in the atmosphere created by a crowd in excess of 400,
including Team Adams, her family posse and coach Jean-Pierre
Egger. She threw 20.75m with her final throw to set a new
Oceania indoor record.
She threw nothing less than a 19.58m over the afternoon,
although one effort was a no-throw.
To put her performance in context, Adams' best indoor throw
is 20.81m, set last year, and she threw 20.70m outdoors to
claim her second gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Towards the end of her recently-released book, Adams stated
she always wanted to throw at a venue like The Cloud. She got
her wish and the crowd reciprocated with generous vocal
Adams, or "Val" as most people acknowledge her, is
fast-moving into first-name recognition territory like
another Jonah in New Zealand sport.
The only patron not appearing to enjoy himself was the bloke
assigned to catching or stopping the shot as it smashed into
some flimsy-looking plywood and netting at the end of the
marked arena. Someone could at least provide him with
wicket-keeping gloves for future such endeavours. His shirt
was drenched with the pressure.
The two hot dog stands at the front of the venue faced
stiffer competition but Adams' support cast included seven
other throwers. They were Trinidad and Tobago mate and rival
Cleopatra Borel-Brown, local up-and-comers Te Rina Keenan,
Siositina Hakeai and Merewarihi Vaka. Matt Bloxham, Alex Rose
and Scott McLaren represented the male contingent. McLaren
worked with Adams in Switzerland before the Olympics.
- By Andrew Alderson of the Herald on Sunday